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Title: Men of feeling : masculinities and national identities, 1761-1817
Author: Stark, Helen Margaret
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis argues that the French Revolution marks a watershed in the treatment of masculinities by European writers, after which the man of feeling becomes central to dialogues about nationhood. It traces fractures and continuities in the relationship between feeling masculinity and the wider community across time and place, analysing political writings, novels, and poems, and works in French, German and Italian as well as English. The man of feeling is introduced in Chapter One using Mackenzie’s The Man of Feeling (1771) and Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), both of which focus on the individual’s relationship with society, rather than the nation. Similarly, Rousseau’s Julie, or the New Heloise (1761), subject of Chapter Two, depicts St. Preux’s education from a ‘good’ to a ‘virtuous’ masculinity located in the regional ‘fatherland’, rather than the nation. In the final three chapters the man of feeling becomes implicated in discourses of nation. Chapter Three traces the movement in Burke’s writings from an inherited and organic to a civic, voluntarist nationhood dependent on men of feeling operating within society’s boundaries and enacting virtuous conduct. Although in Foscolo’s Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis (1802) Ortis is isolated and politically disenfranchised, a direct result of the absence of an Italian nation, Chapter Four argues that such spatially and temporally dislocated men can be united by shared sentiment. Finally, Chapter Five shows how in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, specifically in Canto III (1816), Byron exposes the tyrannical exploitation of feeling masculinity to serve civic nationhood; liberty and the nation are therefore potentially incompatible. This thesis opens up new ways of understanding masculinities by investigating the politicisation of the man of feeling and his involvement in debates about nationhood in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University ; British Association for Romantic Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available