Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.637658
Title: Engendering antiquity : masculinity and ancient Rome in the Victorian cultural imagination
Author: Eastlake, Laura Joanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 3230
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
This thesis examines nineteenth-century receptions of ancient Rome, with a specific focus on how those receptions were deployed to create useable models of masculinity. I suggest that Rome represents a contested space in the Victorian cultural imagination, with an array of possible scripts and narratives that could be harnessed to articulate masculine ideals, or to vilify perceived deviance from those ideals. Thus, this thesis presents a model of nineteenth-century manliness wherein masculine dominance is derived from the perceived authority to assign meaning to Rome as an image, and to determine its usage either as a badge of merit or a condemnation of certain gendered traits. After establishing in the opening chapter the centrality of Latin and a classical education to elite male identities at both individual and collective levels, the remainder of this thesis charts the place and function of the Roman parallel in the construction of several key ‘styles’ of nineteenth-century masculinity, from the man of letters and the industrialist, to the New Imperialist and the dandy. In this way I account for the multifarious and often contradictory treatments of the Roman example in Victorian literature where, for instance, the same Roman parallel was used to capture the martial virtue of Wellington as was used to condemn the deviance and degeneracy of Oscar Wilde. Understood through the lens of masculine identity, Victorian receptions of Rome become more comprehensible: Rome is contested because masculinity is contested; there are many competing visions of Rome because there are many competing styles of masculinity. Far from attempting to artificially homogenize or to impose a singular narrative of Victorian reception, the aim of this thesis is to explore its complexity and to explain its central conflict as a struggle over the codification of manliness whereby the cultural authority to assign meaning to the Roman age is equivalent to and indicative of the power to speak authoritatively about masculinity in the present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.637658  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General) ; PR English literature
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