Manhood Lost: Fallen Drunkards and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Manhood Lost: Fallen Drunkards and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States

by Elaine Frantz Parsons
     
 

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In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told and retold the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inexorably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to

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Overview

In fiction, drama, poems, and pamphlets, nineteenth-century reformers told and retold the familiar tale of the decent young man who fell victim to demon rum: Robbed of his manhood by his first drink, he slid inexorably into an abyss of despair and depravity. In its discounting of the importance of free will, argues Elaine Frantz Parsons, this story led to increased emphasis on environmental influences as root causes of drunkenness, poverty, and moral corruption—thus inadvertently opening the door to state intervention in the form of Prohibition.

"A lively and sophisticated intellectual history... Manhood Lost furnishes new evidence for the centrality of the drink debate to nineteenth-century culture."— Journal of American History

" Manhood Lost deserves a wide readership among historians of gender, temperance, and the nineteenth-century United States."— Journal of the Early Republic

"A fresh perspective on the ways in which nineteenth-century participants in America's temperance debate understood the roles of men and women and the relationships between individuals and their environment."— History of Education Quarterly

"An intriguing, well written, and thought-provoking study that deserves a wide audience among American cultural historians."— American Nineteenth Century History

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Addiction
Parsons offers a fresh perspective on one of the more turgid chapters in American history: the temperance movement of the 19th century. She identifies a pervasive genre—the so-called 'drunkard narrative'—and uses it to uncover strains in how contemporaries thought about free will, individual responsibility and sexual inversion.

— Jessica Warner

Historian
A provocative, fascinating, and elegant book.

— David M. Fahey

American Historical Review
Its findings will be embraced enthusiastically by scholars affiliated with the emergent field of alcohol and addiction studies.

— John W. Crowley

American Nineteenth Century History
An intriguing, well written, and thought-provoking study that deserves a wide audience among American cultural historians.

— Laura R. Prieto

History of Education Quarterly
A fresh perspective on the ways in which nineteenth-century participants in America's temperance debate understood the roles of men and women and the relationships between individuals and their environment.

— Michelle M. Morgan

Journal of Social History
Parsons makes a convincing argument for a much closer connection between discourses of women's rights and temperance in the nineteenth century.

— Thomas Winter

Journal of the Early Republic
Manhood Lost deserves a wide readership among historians of gender, temperance, and the nineteenth-century United States.

— Scott C. Martin

Journal of American History
A lively and sophisticated intellectual history... Manhood Lost furnishes new evidence for the centrality of the drink debate to nineteenth-century culture.

Journal of the Early Republic - Scott C. Martin
Manhood Lost deserves a wide readership among historians of gender, temperance, and the nineteenth-century United States.

Journal of Social History - Thomas Winter
Parsons makes a convincing argument for a much closer connection between discourses of women's rights and temperance in the nineteenth century.

History of Education Quarterly - Michelle M. Morgan
A fresh perspective on the ways in which nineteenth-century participants in America's temperance debate understood the roles of men and women and the relationships between individuals and their environment.

American Historical Review - John W. Crowley
Its findings will be embraced enthusiastically by scholars affiliated with the emergent field of alcohol and addiction studies.

Historian - David M. Fahey
A provocative, fascinating, and elegant book.

Addiction - Jessica Warner
Parsons offers a fresh perspective on one of the more turgid chapters in American history: the temperance movement of the 19th century. She identifies a pervasive genre—the so-called 'drunkard narrative'—and uses it to uncover strains in how contemporaries thought about free will, individual responsibility and sexual inversion.

American Nineteenth Century History - Laura R. Prieto
An intriguing, well written, and thought-provoking study that deserves a wide audience among American cultural historians.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801871665
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/15/2003
Series:
New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Ronald G. Walters

Elaine Frantz Parsons brings enormous freshness to a topic—American temperance and anti-temperance debates—about which we thought we knew a great deal. Her research encompasses the ways in which class, race, gender, religion, reform, legal discourse, and scientific knowledge shaped understandings of alcohol, efforts to control or eliminate it, and its symbolic uses. Thanks to her skill in simultaneously reading texts deeply and in locating them within social structures, she found far more complexity, ambiguity, and diversity in anti-alcohol arguments than previous scholars perceived. Her book gives far richer understanding of what was at stake in post-Civil War debates over alcohol, linking the concerns of both proponents and opponents of temperance to larger social and cultural forces in late nineteenth-century America.

Ronald G. Walters, The Johns Hopkins University

Meet the Author

Elaine Frantz Parsons teaches American history at Duquesne University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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