By Stephen H. Gregg
Defoe's "Writings and Manliness" is a well timed intervention in Defoe stories and within the research of masculinity in eighteenth-century literature extra normally. Arguing that Defoe's writings insistently again to the problems of manliness and its opposite effeminacy, this booklet finds how he drew upon a posh and numerous variety of discourses during which masculinity used to be mentioned within the interval. it's hence that this ebook crosses over and strikes among smooth paradigms for the research of eighteenth-century masculinity to evaluate Defoe's males. a mixture of his readability of imaginative and prescient, a spirit of contrariness and a streak of ethical didacticism led to an idiosyncratic and stressed trying out of the forces surrounding his period's principles of manliness. Defoe's males are males, yet they're by no means unproblematically so: they demonstrate a contrariness which shows failure of manliness isn't very distant.
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Extra info for Defoes Writings and Manliness
The Complete English Tradesman’s appeal to classical myth and Christian fortitude, taken together with this last passage, suggests that, for Defoe, trade is a far more strenuous manly undertaking. Peacocks and feathers In the section entitled ‘Of Extravagant and Expensive living; another step to a Tradesman’s Disaster’, Defoe offers a summary of the kind of emulative desires in which both Moll’s draper and Roxana’s brewer indulge: 1. Expensive house-keeping, or family extravagance. 2. Expensive dressing, or the extravagance of fine cloaths.
234-35). Underlining this, Defoe paints a picture of a rich tradesman attempting to mix with men who are gentlemen by birth: 27 Jonas Barish, The Antitheatrical Prejudice (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), pp. 116-17, quoted in Lawrence E. Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness: Moral Discourse and Cultural Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 75, see pp. 74-75. See also Terry Castle, Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction (London: Methuen, 1986).
The striking aspect of both Defoe’s analysis and response is the way he drew upon a wide variety of languages with which to analyse manliness and effeminacy; including the civic humanist critique of the new mobile property, liberal and Mandevillian attitudes to economics, Protestant ethics and biblical sources, and classical models of manliness. Such a diverse range of tropes, concepts and discourses sometimes enabled a distinctly Defoean representation of men – the mimic gentleman-fops, or the men in The Complete English Tradesman stand out.