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MASCULINITY, 1560-1918: MEN DEFINING MEN AND GENTLEMEN

Part 2: 1800-1918, Sources from the Bodleian Library, Oxford

“In recent scholarship it has become commonplace to treat masculinity as a key component of the cultural history of earlier centuries. Yet the term only entered the English language during the twentieth century, and it denotes a set of concerns to which no previous term corresponds. ‘Masculinity’ is the nearest we have to a word which embraces all the things which distinguish men from women: it includes both physical and psychological attributes, both appearance and behaviour, both interiority and performance.”
John Tosh, Consultant Editor, School of Humanities & Cultural Studies, University of Surrey, Roehampton

Part 2, selected by John Tosh, offers over 125 titles describing the changing emphasis placed on different aspects of Masculinity in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  There are:

  • Sermons and homilies on manliness.
  • Writings promoting the gospel of self-help and on the working man..
  • Educational texts and accounts of school life at Eton, Harrow, Rugby and other schools.
  • Advice Books for boys and young men, and rules for gentlemen.
  • Writings on the family and domestic life.
  • Accounts of male fashion and etiquette.
  • Books on morality and sexual purity aimed at men.
  • Much on sport and health, including boxing, rugby, golf and cricket.
  • Descriptions of heroes from Baden-Powell to Kitchener.


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