History of Virility (Paperback)

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29 Aug 2017
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  • How has the meaning of manhood changed over time? <i>A History of Virility</i> proposes a series of answers to this question by describing a trajectory that begins with ancient conceptions of male domination and privilege and examining how it persisted, with significant alterations, for centuries. While the mainstream of virility was challenged during the Enlightenment, its preeminence was restored by social forms of male bonding in the nineteenth century. Pacifist, feminist, and gay rights movements chipped away at models and codes of virility during the next hundred years, leading to the twentieth century's disclosing of a "virility on edge," or virility as an unstable entity dispossessed of any automatic claim to power.<br><br>These original essays, written by an international group of scholars including Arlette Farge, Jean-Paul Bertaud, Christelle Taraud, and Fabrice Virgili, add an intriguing sociohistorical dimension to our understanding of the evolution of virility. Unsettling received notions of political and cultural critique, these authors consider painting, sculpture, literature, film, and philosophy to expand our knowledge of fascism, nationalism, liberalism, classicism, and colonialism.
  • These original essays follow the socio-historical evolution of virility, as opposed to masculinity, to unsettle popular accounts of politics and culture. A major contribution to the nascent field of masculinity studies, this history consults painting, sculpture, literature, philosophy, film, and cultural and sociological critique. With the twentieth century delivering one blow after another to hegemonic virility, this book also explores where manliness might be headed next.


General Subject
BISAC Subject 1
Social Science / Gender Studies
BISAC Subject 2
Social Science / Men's Studies
BISAC Subject 3
Art / History / General
BISAC Subject 4
History / General
BISAC Subject 5
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural
BIC Classification 1
History of art / art & design styles
BIC Classification 2
BIC Classification 3
Gender studies, gender groups
BIC Classification 4
Gender studies: men
BIC Classification 5
Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography
Library Subject 1
Men - Psychology
Library Subject 2
Sex role - History
Library Subject 3
Men - Identity
Dewey Classification
Professional & Vocational

Author Bio

Alain Corbin is a French historian and specialist of nineteenth-century France. His publications include Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France After 1850; The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination; Village Bells; and The Life of an Unknown. Jean-Jacques Courtine is professor of European studies at the University of Auckland, and professor emeritus at the Sorbonne nouvelle (Paris III) and the University of California, Santa Barbara. With Alain Corbin and Georges Vigarello, he edited Histoire du corps (History of the Body). His publications include Histoire du visage (History of the Face) and Dechiffrer le corps. Penser avec Foucault (Deciphering the Body. Thinking with Foucault). Georges Vigarello is one of Europe's best-known historians of the body. He has published prolifically on topics ranging from Concepts of Cleanliness and the cultural history of sports to The History of Rape and The History of the Body. He is research director at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS), and the author, most recently, of The Metamorphoses of Fat: A History of Obesity. Keith Cohen has published a number of translations from the French, most notably "The Laugh of the Medusa" by Helene Cixous, reprinted widely throughout the English-speaking world, as well as Cixous's Third Body.