Power and Masculine Anxiety in Late Eighteenth-Century British Narratives: How British Men Reconstructed Their Roles

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A new scholarly contribution to eighteenth century British literature and studies reflecting changing gender roles through examination of the behavior of male characters and their social evolution in British Society before and during the Age of Reason.


“This work is a significant contribution to gender studies and, more particularly, to masculine studies…Reed wisely concludes that the attempt to identify a single masculinity is doomed to failure, because the masculine is constantly and necessarily in a state of redefinition.”
-Prof. Michael Finney,
Youngstown State University

“The discussion of the characters in British fiction traces the evolution of the male characters adapting to sensibility (softness and more feminine behaviors) in their relationships with others – especially women…The author provides good insight into the tensions and anxieties to which the characters of the novels adapted.”

-Prof. Roy Strausbaugh,
Dean Emeritus, Edinboro University

“Brian Reed’s thoughtful and impeccable researched work draws from a variety of texts written during the eighteenth-century to explore how anxieties about masculine definitions of self were both underscored and undercut by the prevailing notions of sentimentality and sensibility…it is an outstanding contribution to the field of eighteenth-century studies…”
-Prof. Jennifer A. Swartz,
Lake Erie College

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Manipulating Men: Anxious Sensibility in Boswell, Sterne, and Smollett
Chapter 2
Men of Parts: The Consuming nature of Smollett’s Men
Chapter 3
Excessive Men: Manipulation and overstatement in the Early Gothic Novel

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