Invisible Men: Fatherhood in Victorian Periodicals, 1850-1910

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Invisible Men focuses on the tremendous growth of periodical literature from 1850 to 1910 to illustrate how Victorian and Edwardian thought and culture problematized fatherhood within the family. Claudia Nelson shows how positive images of fatherhood virtually disappeared from the literature of the day as motherhood claimed an exalted position with imagined ties to patriotism, social reform, and religious influence. Nelson's research draws on the rapidly expanding genre periodicals of the time - political, ...
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1995 Hard Cover Very Good in Very Good jacket Clean, crisp, and bright; no owners' marks; binding is tight and square; except for some rubbing on the bottom cover edges and a ... bit of wrinkling at the jacket's top edges and spine ends, excellent, nearly as new. Read more Show Less

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1995 Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket 0820316997. This book is in very good condition; no remainder marks. Dustjacket does have some shelfwear and two small edgewear ... tears at the top. Gift inscription by author on title page. Inside pages are clean.; 1.2 x 9.4 x 5.8 Inches; 332 pages. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Invisible Men focuses on the tremendous growth of periodical literature from 1850 to 1910 to illustrate how Victorian and Edwardian thought and culture problematized fatherhood within the family. Claudia Nelson shows how positive images of fatherhood virtually disappeared from the literature of the day as motherhood claimed an exalted position with imagined ties to patriotism, social reform, and religious influence. Nelson's research draws on the rapidly expanding genre periodicals of the time - political, scientific, domestic, and religious. The study begins in 1850, a point marking the end of the pre-Victorian role of the father in the middle-class home - as one who led the family in prayer, administered discipline, and determined the children's education, marriage, and career. In subsequent decades, fatherhood was increasingly scrutinized while a new definition of motherhood and femininity emerged. The solution to the newly perceived dilemma of fatherhood appeared rooted in traditional feminine values - nurturance, selflessness, and sensitivity. Victorian sanctification of motherhood led to three new constructs for the role of the father within the family: the "maternal father" was eulogized for his feminine moral influence and cooperation; the "separate-but-equal father" was measured by detachment and self-discipline; and the "abdicating father" conceded, with enthusiasm or regret, his familial insignificance. Consequently, the significance of maternal influence extended well into adult male life. By the end of the century, many fathers needed as much nurturing, or mothering, from their wives as did the children themselves. Social institutions reinforced this diminution in the social value of the father. The legal system assigned control over paternity to the state, while educators and reformers raised significant questions about the role of the school (and the state) as surrogate father. Moreover, modern science redefined its views on male sexuality and eu
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Every generation may find it necessary to redefine gender ideals and reinvent the family; in Victorian and Edwardian periodical literature, sanctification of motherhood led to increasing ambivalence about fatherhood. This critique extends the contemporary debate over men's proper role within the family by providing a historical context for the various images of fatherhood as we practice and dispute them today. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820316994
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Fascination with the Maternal 11
2 The Father in the Family 39
3 Science and the Father 73
4 The Law and the Father 107
5 "Alma Pater": Fathers and the School 139
6 Parenthood and the Motherland 171
Conclusion 201
A Note on Sources 211
Notes 217
Works Cited 291
Index 321
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