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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces an unlikely figure of ideal Victorian masculinity, the military man of feeling. It uses Thackeray’s exemplary Colonel Newcome, hero of The Newcomes (1853–5), to focus a number of debates central to Victorian ideas of manliness: the composition of the gentleman, the democratization of manly virtue, the social and national roles of army men across ranks. Building upon excellent recent work on the private lives and experience of Victorian men, it examines a mid-nineteenth-century preoccupation with the emotional experience and eloquence of soldiers, and questions the accepted idea that the Victorian period witnessed a decided stiffening of the upper lip. This essay challenges both the abiding stereotype of the emotionally buttoned-up Victorian male, and the idea, expressed in the Victorian period and familiar in our own, that feeling has no place in war.

Keywords: masculinities, militarism, war, Thackeray, The Newcomes, emotion, affect, feeling, sensibility, fatherhood

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