Throughout the nineteenth century, liberalism inspired reform movements, a vast colonial project, and influenced the Victorian code of manliness that instructed men to be disciplined, courageous, and generous, effectively inviting all men to become manly. Richard Jefferies's post-apocalyptic After London; or Wild England (1885) dramatizes the limitations of liberalism as a mechanism for managing people. This article is interested in how Jefferies's portrayal of Felix Aquila, the insecure but determined hero of the novel, recreates a hegemonic model of masculinity. Despite his determination, men's adherence to liberal values and the Victorian code of manliness are ultimately insufficient to retain the powers of hegemonic masculinity. Jefferies's narrative suggests that Aquila's liberal vision is yet another way to rebuild a contingent, tenuous hegemonic masculinity. It reminds us of the difficulty of imagining alternative, non-dominant, modes of being a man, even in speculative literature. [142 words]


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pp. 244-264
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Will Be Archived 2021
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