This paper by Alexander Hay seeks to demonstrate that historical fencing manuals and treatises are worthy of study not merely as historical documents but as works of both philosophy and literary merit, demonstrating, as they do, a clear ideological viewpoint as well as an engagement with the ideological and intellectual shifts of their time. The two texts chosen for this initial study, namely, George Silver’s Paradoxes of Defence (1599) and Vincentino Saviolo’s His Practise (1595), not only contrast with one another, which was Silver’s intention, but also demonstrate an engagement with humanistic and social concerns. We cannot detach these works from the literary and socio-political contexts in which they were written, nor would the authors have intended them to be.
How to Cite:
Hay, A., 2015. The art and politics of fence: subtexts and ideologies of late 16th century fencing manuals. Martial Arts Studies, (1), pp.60–71. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2015.10019