The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity / Edition 1

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What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be manly? How has our notion of masculinity changed over the years? In this book, 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 dominant 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. He also shows how the rise of universal conscription created a "soldierly man" as an ideal type. In bringing his examination up to the present, Mosse studies the key historical roles of the so-called "fairer sex" (women) and "unmanly men" (Jews and homosexuals) in defining and maintaining the male stereotype, and considers the possible erosion of that stereotype in our own time.

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Editorial Reviews

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 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

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 (
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

  • ISBN-13: 9780195126600
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Studies in the History of Sexuality Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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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