Marked Men: Sport and Masculinity in Victorian Popular Culture, 1866-1904

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Date
2012-08-09
Authors
Smith, Shannon
Keyword
Gender Studies , Sport , Theatre , Newspapers and Periodicals , Victorian , Rowing , Cycling , Popular Culture , Horse Racing , Masculinity , Print Culture , Britain , Nineteenth Century , Detective Fiction
Abstract
In Marked Men: Sport and Masculinity in Victorian Popular Culture, 1866-1904 I examine the representation of the figure of the Victorian sportsman in different areas of nineteenth-century popular culture – newspapers, spectacular melodrama, and series detective fiction – and how these depictions register diverse incarnations of this figure, demonstrating a discomfort with, and anxiety about, the way in which the sporting experience after the Industrial Revolution influenced gender ideology, specifically that related to ideas of manliness. Far from simply celebrating the modern experience of sport as one that works to produce manly men, coverage in the Victorian press of sporting events such as the 1869 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, spectacular melodramas by Dion Boucicault, and series detective fiction by Arthur Conan Doyle and Arthur Morrison, all recognize that the relationship between men and modern sport is a complex, if fraught one; it produces men who are “marked” in a variety of ways by their sporting experience. This recognition is at the heart of our own understandings of this relationship in the twenty-first century.
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