Chapter

Masculinity in the “Age of Chivalry,” 1688–1832

David Kuchta

in The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520214934
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921399 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520214934.003.0005
Masculinity in the “Age of Chivalry,” 1688–1832

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This chapter outlines the ways in which eighteenth-century aristocrats appropriated oppositional ideologies in order to legitimate their own position atop the social, political, and economic hierarchy. It notes that in Burke's Whig ideology, the “manly sentiment” nursed by the delight and splendor of the queen “kept alive” aristocratic hegemony in eighteenth-century political culture. It further notes that Edmund Burke trumpeted the masculinist aristocratic political culture that triumphed in 1688 and reigned until the extension of suffrage to middle-class men in 1832. It states that a newly triumphant Whig political culture thus made the moral and aesthetic tastes of aristocratic gentlemen central to sustaining aristocratic hegemony in the age of chivalry. It explains that the maintenance of the “spirit of gentleman” was necessary to defend a political order in 1688 against what Burke saw as the rationalist levelling tendencies of 1789, emphasizing masculinity as central to the age of chivalry.

Keywords: oppositional ideologies; Whig ideology; aristocratic hegemony; Edmund Burke; suffrage; chivalry; masculinity

Chapter.  14781 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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