James VI & I, the namesake of the King James Version of the Bible, had a series of notorious male favourites. No one denies that these relationships were amorous, but were they sexual? Michael B. Young merges political history with recent scholarship in the history of sexuality to answer that question. More broadly, he shows that James's favourites had a negative impact within the royal family, at court, in Parliament, and in the nation at large. Contemporaries raised the spectre of a sodomitical court and an effeminized nation; some urged James to engage in a more virile foreign policy by embarking on war. Queen Anne encouraged a martial spirit and moulded her oldest son to be more manly than his father. Repercussions continued after James's death, detracting from the majesty of the monarchy and contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War. Persons acquainted with the history of sexuality will find surprising premonitions here of modern homosexuality and homophobia. General readers will find a world of political intrigue coloured by sodomy, pederasty, and gender instability. For readers new to the subject, the book begins with a helpful overview of King James's life.
Michael B. Young received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of two other books and numerous articles about politics in the reigns of James I and Charles I with special attention to Parliament. He is a Professor of History at Illinois Wesleyan University where he has been recognized for his outstanding teaching of courses on early modern Europe and Tudor-Stuart England. He also teaches a course based on the present book entitled 'Sex, Gender, and Power under King James'. In 2013 he was appointed to the Robert W. Harrington endowed professorship at his university.