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Title: Recruitment, recompense and masculinity : the military man in French and British fiction 1740-1789
Author: Lacey, Karen Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 0949
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis looks at the conception and representation of military men in British and French literature 1740-1789 as the military man moved from non-national ‘archetype’ (warrior, knight, noble) toward nationalised professional (officer, soldier, sailor). The dates that frame the corpus contain the last two European wars before the French Revolution: the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763). In literature, the ancient concepts of heroism and glory had to contend with newer models of merit and virtue. Drawn together by warfare, this transformation also united British and French culture via two factors that lay outside the limits of national identity: shared origins in the dynastic realm and the public’s growing taste for narratives with contemporary settings and moral themes. The methodologies employed permit an examination of the cultural and historical dimension of identity construction: Judith Butler demonstrates how gender ‘styles’ are brought into being through performative acts, giving them coherence through repetition; styles of masculinity were re-imagined in eighteenth-century literature. Benedict Anderson’s explanation for the rise of nationalism reveals a process begun in the late eighteenth-century, displacing ancient and deeply held relationships. Five thematic chapters treat: the sword as ‘signifier’ for an ancient and founding masculinity and its relation to honour culture; young military men advancing merit and subalternism as alternatives to hierarchical models; the veteran, created by society and functioning as the ideological ‘other’ to the new civilian; the mercenary soldier and the moral significance of markets in men; and finally, the justicier, an eighteenth-century literary figure who combines a new model of chivalry with military authority to pursue ‘poetic justice.’ It is my contention that in this period, with the ‘nobleman’ long gone, the military man, not a ‘civilian’ and no longer associated with the ‘aristocrat’, became a separate class of man.
Supervisor: Brant, Clare Victoria; Perovic, Sanja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available