Masculinity in the Modern West Gender, Civilization and the Body

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-11-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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What does it mean to be a man? To be manly? How has this changed throughout history? This text examines the manly stereotype, which stresses courage and athletic comportment, which from the eighteenth century onwards became representative of normative modern society. By using the ideal of the "man of action" as a focal point, a wide range of hitherto neglected aspects of the male body are brought to the fore, from styles of bodily comportment and medical concerns about health, energy, and sexuality to more contemporary issues pertaining to body shape, muscularity, athleticism, and age. This book argues that the loudly proclaimed "crisis" of Western manhood has been marked by attempts to compensate for the gap between the historic bodily ideal of manly action and the banalities of material prosperity and conveniences of modern existence.

Author Biography

CHRISTOPHER E. FORTH is a Reader in History at the Australian National University. He is the author of The Dreyfus Affair and the Crisis of French Manhood and French Masculinities:History, Politics and Culture.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. x
Introduction: Civilization and its Malcontentsp. 1
Making and Unmaking the Gentleman
Four Faces of Civilization, c. 1500-1750p. 21
Balancing Acts: The Paradox of the Gentlemanp. 42
Male Bodies in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
The Armor of Health and the Diseases of Civilizationp. 67
A Diet of Pleasures? The Incorporation of Manhoodp. 92
Building Bodies: Violence, Pain and the Nationp. 114
The Twentieth Century and Beyond
Modern Primitives: Manhood and Metamorphosis around 1900p. 141
Men of Steel: Technologies of the Male Bodyp. 169
The Last Men? Consuming Manhood since 1945p. 201
Conclusion: The Return of the Repressedp. 229
Notesp. 238
Indexp. 278
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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