The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity [NOOK Book]

Overview

In "The Image of Man," noted historian George L. Mosse provides the first historical account of the masculine stereotype in modern Western culture, tracing the evolution of the idea of manliness to reveal how it came to embody physical beauty, courage, moral restraint, and a strong will. This stereotype, he finds, originated in the tumultuous changes of the eighteenth century, as Europe's aristocrats grudgingly yielded to the rise of the professional, bureaucratic, and commercial middle classes. Mosse reveals how...
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The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity

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Overview

In "The Image of Man," noted historian George L. Mosse provides the first historical account of the masculine stereotype in modern Western culture, tracing the evolution of the idea of manliness to reveal how it came to embody physical beauty, courage, moral restraint, and a strong will. This stereotype, he finds, originated in the tumultuous changes of the eighteenth century, as Europe's aristocrats grudgingly yielded to the rise of the professional, bureaucratic, and commercial middle classes. Mosse reveals how the new bourgeoisie, faced with a bewildering, rapidly industrialized world, latched onto the knightly ideal of chivalry. And he shows how the rise of universal conscription created a soldierly man as an ideal type. In England, the nineteenth century gave rise to an educational system that emphasized athletics, team sports, and physical strength, as did the gymnastics movement on the continent. At the same time, ideals of a standard of masculine beauty developed throughout the continent, intertwined with theories of art and personal comportment. Indeed, in the nineteenth century, the idea of manliness appeared in so many areas of life and thought that it was accepted as a social constant, a permanent endowment granted by nature. Mosse shows, however, that it continued to evolve, particularly in contrast to stereotypes of women and unmanly men—Jews and homosexuals—all considered weak and fearful, unable to control their passions. Mosse concludes that socialism also made use of this stereotype, while in the twentieth century Fascism took this process to its extremes - mass political rallies glorified the fearless storm trooper as outsiders were stigmatized andpersecuted.
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Editorial Reviews

Mary Carroll
Mosse--emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin and Jerusalem's Hebrew University and author of classic studies of nationalism, racism, and Nazism--examines a European stereotype of masculinity, "ideas of nationhood, respectability, and war," that has affected "almost every aspect of modern history." A normative concept equating physical health and beauty with mental soundness and moral character, the manly ideal incorporated mixed elements from the past Greek sculpture, the aristocracy dueling, chivalry, and newer sciences like anthropology and sexology; it demanded sharp gender divisions and a vilified countertype, that is outsiders, including Jews, Gypsies, habitual criminals, and sexual deviants. A source of middle-class stability in times of rapid social and technological change, the masculine stereotype also entailed tensions that threatened this stability. It was challenged by fin-de-siecle "decadence" and first-wave feminism--and, more successfully, by the civil rights movements and popular culture of the past 40 years. A brutalized version of the manly ideal was a key element in Nazi doctrine. Provocative, insightful analysis for readers interested in history and gender studies.
Booknews
Mosse (history, U. of Wisconsin-Madison and Hebrew U., Jerusalem) investigates how it happened that real men must be strong, brave, honest, and cannot cry. He finds the origin of modern manliness in the 18th century, among the ascendant bureaucratic and commercial middle class who adopted the Medieval ideals of chivalry to counter the snobbery of the aristocracy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"A cogent, concise, and useful work that explores the historical development of contemporary masculinity."--The San Francisco Chronicle

"In a work combining synthesis and suggestion, Mosse boldly explores representations of manhood in Europe and...in the United States since the mid-eighteenth century.... Mosse's reading of manhood is that great thing, a short book which provokes a long think."--The New Republic

"Provocative, insightful analysis."--Booklist

From Barnes & Noble
How did our idea of manliness evolve? How long have these qualities been the norm? This book traces the masculine stereotype in modern Western culture, its origins and its effects, and explores what "manliness" will mean in the future.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

The late George L. Mosse was Bascom-Weinstein Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and also Koebner Professor of History Emeritus at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He wrote many highly regarded books, including Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (Oxford University Press, 1990).

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: The Masculine Stereotype 3
2 Setting the Standard 17
3 Getting There 40
4 The Countertype 56
5 Masculinity in Crisis: The Decadence 77
6 Warriors and Socialists 107
7 The Normal Society of Men 133
8 The New Fascist Man 155
9 Toward a New Masculinity? 181
Notes 195
Index 219
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