Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages

First Advisor

Anne Quinney

Second Advisor

Sara Wellman

Third Advisor

Dan O'Sullivan


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Toxic masculinity, the modern definition has given a concise explanation to what French literature has been relaying to audiences for centuries. This thesis will explore how toxic masculinity is seen in French literature through five time periods: the Medieval era, 17th, 18th, 20th, and 21st century. Introducing toxic masculinity is provided by a modern definition, biological evidence, and evaluation with society’s definition of masculinity. The Medieval era will investigate two short stories of courtly love that provide readers with classical examples of toxic masculinity that both men and women displayed. Venturing into the 17th and 18th centuries, plays brought the written word to life. It unknowingly exposes audience members to the dangerous and deadly characteristics associated with toxic masculinity which they confronted in their everyday lives. Entering the modern age, we have a more philosophical and biographical approach to the concept of toxic masculinity that has sewn itself into the fabric of every page. While this is a vast topic, further research in French literature and other cultural facets need to be explored.



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