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Title:Fashioning Men of Fashion: The Fop and the Transformation of Eighteenth -Century Masculinity
Author(s):Engsberg, Mark David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Elizabeth A. Bohls
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:This thesis is concerned with class-based changes in the dominant form of eighteenth-century masculinity. These changes are traced through eighteenth-century literary representations of the fop and other negative stereotypes of aristocratic masculinity such as the rake, the molly, the pedant and the booby squire, although the fop is the most significant figure in this collection of negative stereotypes. The fuller significance of these figures is discussed in relation to important debates surrounding and impinging on notions of approved forms of masculinity. Specifically, I have selected two sites, sexuality and education, as examples of areas in which the concept of masculinity was redefined through tensions between class-oriented versions of approved masculinity. The importance of these competing versions of masculinity is discussed from the perspective of eighteenth-century poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction prose. These texts are considered in terms of the reconfiguration of male gendered subjectivity that provided a forum for the articulation of "middle-class values," which is personified in a concept I have called the Sober Gentleman of Merit. This figure eventually came to replace the dominant version of masculinity promulgated by aristocrats, other like-minded elites, and their adherents. Representations of negative stereotypes of aristocratic masculinity were used by eighteenth-century writers to denigrate the aristocratic ideal of masculinity. Simultaneously, these representations reveal the contours of the middle-class Sober Gentleman of Merit. In conclusion, I argue that during the eighteenth century, the prolonged critique of aristocratic masculinity through negative stereotypes helped to produce a new normative version of masculinity which conformed to, reflected, and participated in the emerging middle class's trajectory of progress toward cultural dominance.
Issue Date:1999
Description:233 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9953008
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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