Masculinity and the New Imperialism

Masculinity and the New Imperialism : Rewriting Manhood in British Popular Literature, 1870-1914

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At the end of the nineteenth century, the zenith of its imperial chauvinism and jingoistic fervour, Britain's empire was bolstered by a surprising new ideal of manliness, one that seemed less English than foreign, less concerned with moral development than perpetual competition, less civilized than savage. This study examines the revision of manly ideals in relation to an ideological upheaval whereby the liberal imperialism of Gladstone was eclipsed by the New Imperialism of Disraeli and his successors. Analyzing such popular genres as lost world novels, school stories, and early science fiction, it charts the decline of mid-century ideals of manly self-control and the rise of new dreams of gamesmanship and frank brutality. It reveals, moreover, the dependence of imperial masculinity on real and imagined exchanges between men of different nations and races, so that visions of hybrid masculinities and honorable rivalries energized Britain's sense of its New Imperialist destiny.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 13 b/w illus.
  • 1139950770
  • 9781139950770

Table of contents

Introduction: better men; 1. Gunga Din and other better men: the burden of imperial manhood in Kipling's verse; 2. Cultural cross-dressing and the politics of masculine performance; 3. Piracy, play, and the boys who wouldn't grow up; 4. In statu pupillari: schoolboys, savages, and colonial authority; 5. Barbarism and the lost worlds of masculinity; 6. Mummies, marriage, and the occupation of Egypt; 7. Fitter men: H. G. Wells and the impossible future of masculinity; Bibliography.
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Review quote

'Deane's prose is colorful, pacey, and vibrant. As well as being eminently readable, however, the book is also rigorously researched and intellectually stimulating. Its use of popular fiction as a broad lens through which to consider late-Victorian gender ideals has resulted in a more comprehensive understanding of cultural constructions of New Imperialist manliness than has hitherto been available.' Laura Eastlake, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 'This thoughtful and scholarly book will be valued by all who have an interest in the shifting notions of manhood in the half-century before the Great War.' Malcolm Tozer, History of Education '... this is a persuasive and eminently readable book, and one that will be a valuable resource for anyone who researches and/or teaches late-Victorian literature and culture.' Nicholas Daly, Nineteenth-Century Literature
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About Bradley Deane

Bradley Deane is Associate Professor of English and Morse-Alumni Distinguished University Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is author of The Making of the Victorian Novelist (2003). Work for this book was supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.
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