J. Solinger's Becoming the Gentleman: British Literature and the Invention PDF

By J. Solinger

ISBN-10: 0230391842

ISBN-13: 9780230391840

ISBN-10: 1349351768

ISBN-13: 9781349351763

Changing into the Gentleman explains why British electorate within the lengthy eighteenth century have been haunted through the query of what it intended to be a gentleman. Supplementing fresh paintings on femininity, Solinger identifies a corpus of texts that tackle masculinity and demanding situations the concept of a masculine determine that has been considered as unchanging.

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Extra resources for Becoming the Gentleman: British Literature and the Invention of Modern Masculinity, 1660–1815

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By figuring this social rise as a hypothetical or historical event, instructional texts steer clear of any suggestion of radical politics and hierarchical subversion. That they manage to do so even when they portray becoming the gentleman as a present-day phenomenon is a function of the way they address real and imagined aristocratic readers with a mixture of caution and politeness. “A liberal Education entitles a Man very justly to this Character,” remarks the author of A Discourse Concerning the Character of a Gentleman (1716), “if he behaves suitably to it” (8).

Battles of the Books One would be pressed to find an eighteenth-century discussion of what men ought to learn that doesn’t hinge on the question of which texts, disciplines and settings are most likely to provide knowledge of the world. The question’s ubiquity, and the fact that virtually every educational authority and author claimed to know the answer to it, underscores the rhetorical power of the figure: its ability to authorize any number of texts or curriculum choices as socially valuable.

Through the Middle Ages, the gentleman’s world had always been synonymous with the sphere of military affairs. In its early modern usage, the world increasingly came to signify service in a broader sense: namely, a political life in which gentlemen played significant roles in government and diplomacy. Baldesar Castiglione’s widely published Book of the Courtier (1528), translated by Thomas Hoby in 1561, suggests the evolving meaning of world in the way it enfolds a gentleman’s marshal vocation within the role of courtier, where conversation, diplomacy and counsel vie with military prowess in the text’s definition of courtly service.

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Becoming the Gentleman: British Literature and the Invention of Modern Masculinity, 1660–1815 by J. Solinger


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