The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $10.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 76%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $10.00   
  • New (2) from $19.98   
  • Used (6) from $10.00   

Overview

In this engaging new book, Howard Chudacoff describes a special and fascinating world: the urban bachelor life that took shape in the late nineteenth century, when a significant population of single men migrated to American cities. Rejecting the restraints and dependence of the nineteenth-century family, bachelors found sustenance and camaraderie in the boarding houses, saloons, pool halls, cafes, clubs, and other institutions that arose in response to their increasing numbers. Richly illustrated, anecdotal, and including a unique analysis of The National Police Gazette (the most outrageous and popular men's publication of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century), this book is the first to describe a complex subculture that continues to affect the larger meanings of manhood and manliness in American society.

The figure of the bachelor--with its emphasis on pleasure, self-indulgence, and public entertainment--was easily converted by the burgeoning consumer culture at the turn of the century into an ambiguously appealing image of masculinity. Finding an easy reception in an atmosphere of insecurity about manhood, that image has outdistanced the circumstances in which it began to flourish and far outlasted the bachelor culture that produced it. Thus, the idea of the bachelor has retained its somewhat negative but alluring connotations throughout the rest of the twentieth century. Chudacoff's concluding chapter discusses the contemporary "singles scene" now developing as the number of single people in urban centers is again increasing.

By seeing bachelorhood as a stage in life for many and a permanent status for some, Chudacoff recalls a lifestyle that had a profound impact on society, evoking fear, disdain, repugnance, and at the same time a sense of romance, excitement, and freedom. The book contributes to gender history, family history, urban history, and the study of consumer culture and will appeal to anyone curious about American history and anxious to acquire a new view of a sometimes forgotten but still influential aspect of our national past.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement - Michael Bronski
Sharp, insightful, and always entertaining, The Age of the Bachelor is an example of cultural history at its best.
From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1999

"For many men, the bachelor lifestyle became the defining act of being a man: living unencumbered by family and free to indulge in the many pleasures city life offered. Rigorously documented but very accessible to readers of American culture."--Booklist

"This vivid study examines the salacious, sensuous bachelor lifestyle at the height of its prominence. . . . Chudacoff's research and methodology are admirable, offering a fine mix of evidence, anecdote, biographical account, and sociological material to explore all important aspects of his subject. A well-rounded view of the turn-of-the-century bachelor, particularly valuable to readers drawn to the cultural landscape of Victorian America."--Kirkus Reviews

"Sharp, insightful, and always entertaining, The Age of the Bachelor is an example of cultural history at its best."--Michael Bronski, The Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement

Booklist
For many men, the bachelor lifestyle became the defining act of being a man: living unencumbered by family and free to indulge in the many pleasures city life offered. Rigorously documented but very accessible to readers of American culture.
The Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement
Sharp, insightful, and always entertaining, The Age of the Bachelor is an example of cultural history at its best.
— Michael Bronski
The Boston Phoenix Literary Supplement
Sharp, insightful, and always entertaining, The Age of the Bachelor is an example of cultural history at its best.
— Michael Bronski
The Economist
No one much likes bachelors, though that may well be the result of envy as much as anything else. They seem to dodge their duty to keep the world populated, and spend their lives drinking martinis and having an unfairly good time. Spinsters, on the other hand, are generally thought to have a rotten time, and are mostly well liked. Howard Chudacoff claims to have found a period in recent American history, starting from about 1880, during which there was an exceptionally large number of bachelors, doing unhealthily undomestic things, such as patronising bars, cafes and brothels and reading a scurrilous publication called the National Police Gazette. . Singlehood is in vogue again today. Is another golden age of bachelordom just around the corner?
Library Journal
Compared with single women, single men have been wallflowers when it comes to engaging the attention of historians. Brown University's Chudacoff, author of an earlier history of attitudes toward the life cycle, How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture Princeton Univ., 1989, seeks to change that with this study of unmarried men in large American cities between 1880 and 1930. The total percentage of bachelors peaked during that time, and the resulting "subculture" centering around saloons, gangs, barber shops, YMCAs, boardinghouses, men's publications, and other male domains is Chudacoff's primary concern in this social history. His description of such institutions is usually interesting, if rarely surprising, but the book's argument for the overall cultural importance of bachelor subculture is strained. For larger academic collections in gender history.--Robert F. Nardini, Chichester, NH
Booknews
Chudacoff history, Brown U. describes how a new subculture was created in the late 19th century by single men migrating to US cities. He tells how they rejected the restraints and dependencies of the contemporary family and took their social life from public places such as boarding houses, saloons, clubs, and cafes. He also traces the ambiguous image through the 20th century and compares it to the burgeoning urban singles scene. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknew.com
Amanda Heller
Rooming houses sprang up to house single men, and workingmen's cafes, with their blue-plate specials, to feed them. Barbershops and bathhouses provided sociability along with a shave and a bath for boarders whose meager lodgings rarely afforded access to plumbing. Wealthy bachelors had their clubs, where class rather than marital status secured membership. Working-class men had their bars and pool halls. Middle-class bachelors found respectable companionship through the YMCA and fraternal organizations. To relieve the frustrations of celibacy, there were dance halls and bordellos for the sports, and penny-dreadful pornography for the masses.
The Boston Globe
Kirkus Reviews
Scholarly but never dusty, this vivid study examines the salacious, sensuous bachelor lifestyle at the height of its prominence from 1880 to 1920.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691070551
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents


Acknowlegments ix
Introduction The Age of the Bachclor 3
Chapter One Bachelorhood in Early American History 21
Chapter Two Why So Many Bachelors? 45
Chapter Three The Domestic Lives of Bachelors 75
Chapter Four Institutional Life 106
Chapter Five Associations: Formal and Interpersonal 146
Chapter Six The Popular Culture of Bachelorhood 185
Chapter Seven Bachelor Subculture and Male Culture 217
Chapter Eight The Decline and Resurgence of Bachelorhood, 1930-1995 251
Appendix 283
Notes 291
Index 335
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)