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Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900Bodies, Emotion, and Material Culture$
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Joanne Begiato

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526128577

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526128584

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Homeward bound: manliness and the home

Homeward bound: manliness and the home

(p.136) 4 Homeward bound: manliness and the home
Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900

Joanne Begiato

Manchester University Press

This chapter demonstrates how cultural accounts of men in the home inculcated feelings that produced, reinforced, and disseminated notions of masculinity. It shows that while manly men were considered integral to its success they were nevertheless envisioned outside the home, fighting for it, defending it, or providing for it. As such, this chapter addresses men’s absence from home through the popular motifs of men leaving and returning, dreaming of home, and their ‘absent presence’; that is objects which acted as reminders of men who were away from home for long periods. When print and visual culture imagined men within the home, it was as catalysts for a ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ home, predominantly fashioned through their performance of key emotions. Men could produce ‘happy’ homes through their provision, frugality, kindness, love, and affection. Or their disruptive unmanly behaviours resulted in ‘unhappy’ homes, sites of domestic violence. The chapter focuses on representations of working-class men because middle-class imaginations often scrutinised their emotional and sexual performances in the home, since it was deemed central to a successful society and nation. As such, they also functioned to remind middle-class men what they should aspire to and avoid being. (194 words)

Keywords:   Home, Domestic, Masculinity, Middle-class men, Working-class men, Absence, Leaving home, Returning home, Love, Domestic violence

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