Scarecrows of Chivalry
English Masculinities after Empire
Publication Year: 2013
Exploring the fate of the ideal of the English gentleman once the empire he was meant to embody declined, Praseeda Gopinath argues that the stylization of English masculinity became the central theme, focus, and conceit for many literary texts that represented the "condition of Britain" in the 1930s and the immediate postwar era. From the early writings of George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh to works by poets and novelists such as Philip Larkin, Ian Fleming, Barbara Pym, and A. S. Byatt, the author shows how Englishmen trafficking in the images of self-restraint, governance, decency, and detachment in the absence of a structuring imperial ethos became what the poet Larkin called "scarecrows of chivalry." Gopinath's study of this masculine ideal under duress reveals the ways in which issues of race, class, and sexuality constructed a gendered narrative of the nation.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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I have incurred a debt of gratitude to many people who have contributed immeasurably to this project that began life as a dissertation. I would like to thank my advisors Jed Esty and Joe Valente, who helped to defi ne and shape this study. They were, and continue to be, my models for intellec-tual rigor, generosity, and scholarship. I am also grateful to many scholars whose input at various stages was so crucial to my thinking on this book: ...
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You cannot say you know England until you know the English gentleman.When eric blair decided to adopt the pseudonym George Orwell—based on England’s patron saint and the little river that ran beyond the garden of his childhood home—he deliberately crafted what he believed to be a quintessentially English everyman persona: an Englishman who was patriotic, but reasonably so; one who believed in the English countryside as ...
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Before the war you were either a gentleman or not a gentleman, and if you were a gentleman you struggled to behave as such, whatever your income In order to track the changes in hegemonic masculinity, the change from gentleman to post- gentleman, in the middle decades of the twen-tieth century, it is necessary to go back to the Victorian ideal of the gentleman. As I delineated in the introduction, many of the protagonists ...
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...“But,” said Paul Penny feather, “there is my honour. For generations the British bourgeoisie have spoken of themselves as gentlemen, and by that they have meant, among other things, a self- respecting scorn of irregular perquisites. It is the quality that distinguishes the gentleman from the artist and the aristocrat. Now, I am a gentleman. I can’t help it: it’s born in me.”...
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Mr. Orwell is still a victim of that early atmosphere, in his home and public school, which he himself has so eloquently exposed. His conscience, his sense of decency, his understanding of realities tell him to declare himself a Socialist: but fi ghting against this compulsion there is in him all the time a compulsion far less conscious but almost—though fortunately not quite—as ...
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The british nation from the end of the Second World War to the mid- 1960s is a “hybrid affair, assembled out of tales about the past as well as narratives of the future” (Conekin et al. 3). As theories of the nation have frequently pointed out, the Janus- faced nation simultaneously looks backward to “invented” tradition, invoking the collective “memory” of the imagined community, and forward into its own future.1 Philip Larkin’s ...
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If a sort of H.C.F. of decent behavior and tolerable living could be established Moving from philip larkin’s self- refl ective and self- conscious mas-culine poetics to the aggressive yet neurotic stylizations of the En-glishman in the novels of John Wain and, (not so) surprisingly, Ian Flem-ing reveals another facet of the literary transition into postwar masculinity. Altered by and within governmental practices of the welfare state, the ...
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The dissolution of the code of English gentlemanliness and the si-multaneous adaptation of specifi c traits of that code in the literature of postwar, post- imperial England signifi es both the decline of the English gentleman and the paradoxical persistence of the ideals that defi ne English-ness and Englishmen. The focus in earlier chapters has been on middle- to lower- class male protagonists who struggle against the weight of an inher-...
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This book has examined literary iterations of the simultaneous disinte-gration and mutation of the gentlemanly ideal in the immediate post-war period as the imperial nation redefi ned and rediscovered itself. Though the texts that I have considered illustrate insular Englishmen by the En-glish, the argument focuses on how race and empire shape gentlemanli-ness and its subsequent adaptations. This epilogue turns away from the ...
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013