Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900

Bodies, emotion, and material culture

By Joanne Begiato

Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2859-1
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: February 2020
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Gender studies: men, Material culture, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Men's Studies, Society & social sciences / Material culture, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901), HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Georgian Era (1714-1837), DESIGN / History & Criticism, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Modern History, Art History, History
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


This book offers an innovative account of manliness in Britain between 1760 and 1900. Using diverse textual, visual and material culture sources, it shows that masculinities were produced and disseminated through men's bodies -often working-class ones - and the emotions and material culture associated with them. The book analyses idealised men who stimulated desire and admiration, including virile boxers, soldiers, sailors and blacksmiths, brave firemen and noble industrial workers. It also investigates unmanly men, such as drunkards, wife-beaters and masturbators, who elicited disgust and aversion. Unusually, Manliness in Britain runs from the eras of feeling, revolution and reform to those of militarism, imperialism, representative democracy and mass media, periods often dealt with separately by historians of masculinities.


'Joanne Begiato's Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900 breaks new ground in exploring manliness in Britain as an expansive body of gendered meanings that was most fully elaborated by representatives of the middle class but was also deeply resonant with the working class. [...] Overall, this is a virtuoso deployment of three interlinked strands in the new cultural history: the somatic, the material, and the emotional. That conceptual range has made possible a book on manliness unrivaled in its contextual range and its interpretive insights.'
Journal of British Studies


Making manliness manifest: an introduction
1 Figures, faces, and desire: male bodies and manliness
2 Appetites, passions, and disgust: the penalties and paradoxes of unmanliness
3 Hearts of oak: martial manliness and material culture
4 Homeward bound: manliness and the home
5 Brawn and bravery: glorifying the working body
The measure of a man: an epilogue


Joanne Begiato is Professor of History and Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange at Oxford Brookes University

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