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Man Up

A Study of Gendered Expectations of Masculinities at the Fin de Siècle

Author(s): Morna Ramday

Book Description

Much has been written regarding the New Woman in the fin de siècle and the changes women’s groups fought so hard to achieve. However, the social and gender changes demanded by women as the nineteenth century drew to a close necessitated a corresponding change in traditional masculinities. Redefinition of the male role was not easily negotiated in an era of rampant patriarchy and Victorian supremacy; the distinct boundaries between male and female social space made this increasingly problematic for both genders. Some Victorian men, who had seen the public sphere as exclusively theirs, felt both their masculinity and male privilege threatened and were confused by women’s challenges and their attempted encroachment into what had previously been perceived as solely male domains.

While many female authors explored possibilities for the New Woman figure, as the fin de siècle approached, male authors began to consider how masculinities might respond to changing gender dynamics. Authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, amongst others, addressed ways in which their male characters could negotiate a quandary of masculinities under threat by alterations to conventional gender spheres while remaining “manly” in situations which required a rethinking of many of their basic tenets during this time of flux.

This book examines the opinions of women within both the dominant and reverse discourses, and parallels them with ideas surrounding changes in masculinities that began to emerge in male-authored texts. As such, it details an often vociferous negotiation of volatile issues which led to a major upheaval of gender roles in the approach to a new century that demanded changes which were difficult to achieve.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-7615-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-7615-1
Date of Publication: 01/06/2015
Pages / Size: 245 / A5
Price: £47.99


Morna Ramday discovered the joys of academia rather late in life. A native Scot, she spent 20 years living overseas with her husband and rearing three children. She returned to Scotland where she re-entered education, signing up for the alternate-access Evening Degree at the University of St Andrews. The resultant enthusiasm led to academic progression through an MA to an MLitt in Women, Writing and Gender and, finally, to a successful PhD focusing on masculinities. Morna currently teaches secondary English – a role which she managed to maintain throughout her studies in order to finance them. She now looks forward to researching and writing further articles and books on masculinities within the Victorian era.