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Title: In the name of the father: Manliness, control and social salvation in the works of George MacDonald
Authors: Neophytou, Jenny
Advisors: Smith, P
Moran, M
Cox, J
Gaston, S
Keywords: George MacDonald;Christian socialism;Social reform;Gender theory;Victorian literature and culture
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This thesis considers the representation of manly identity in the works of George MacDonald, and the way in which that identity is formed in relation to shifting power networks and contemporary social discourses. I argue that the environment of technological and societal change experienced in the mid-Victorian era (in the wake of industrialisation, urbanisation, changes in suffrage and war) led to a cultural need to re-align social, political, physical and economic power within a framework of male moral strength. Taking his lead from Thomas Carlyle and German transcendentalism, MacDonald promoted a paternalist ‗ideal‘ of manliness that articulated a synthesis of moral and physical power, yet which also served to promote a paradigm of domestic authority within diverse areas of male interaction. The dual purposes of this ideal were the defence of national identity (the purview of what I term the ‗Soldier body‘), and the enforcement of a paternalist authority hierarchy that is swiftly subsumed within a hierarchy of social status. As a result, we see the growth of close inter-relationships between the representation of manly identity and the language of class, heavily influenced by Christian socialist narratives of individual development through social education and quiescence. Moreover, we begin to witness disturbing scenes of violence and control, as aspects of MacDonald‘s culture defy confinement within his model of patriarchal domestic authority.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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