Chapter

Patriot Games: Military Masculinity and the Recompense of Virtue

Carol Watts

in The Cultural Work of Empire

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625642
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671717 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625642.003.0003
Patriot Games: Military Masculinity and the Recompense of Virtue

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This chapter demonstrates the moment of Quebec. The story of Tristram Bates is also discussed. It then investigates the spectacle of the military veteran in more detail, concentrating on the popular figure of Laurence Sterne's uncle Toby. In Tristram Shandy, Toby's blend of virtue and nature is feared while the novel at once points out his childlike innocence and powerlessness in an unjust world. The irony in Toby's case is that the language of his body provides both a critique and an explanation for violence. It is expected that Toby's bodily display of ‘benevolence’ expressed the contradictions of an ideology that both services and protests against this economic imperative. The sacrifice of the soldier is famously held to secure one powerful manifestation of the ‘imagined community’ of the nation. The British expansionist project encountered ‘barriers in its own nature’, although it was articulated in terms of the universalising of ‘benevolence’.

Keywords: military veteran; Tristram Bates; Quebec; Tristram Shandy; Toby; Laurence Sterne; benevolence

Chapter.  20450 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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