By Katherine V. Snyder
Katherine Snyder's learn explores the importance of the bachelor narrator, a ordinary yet little well-known determine in premodernist and modernist fiction by means of male authors, together with Hawthorne, James, Conrad, Ford, and Fitzgerald. Snyder demonstrates that bachelors functioned in cultural and literary discourse as threshold figures who, by means of crossing the moving, permeable barriers of bourgeois domesticity, highlighted the bounds of traditional masculinity. through getting to the gendered identities and family members at factor in those narratives, Snyder's learn discloses the cultured and political underpinnings of the normal canon of English and American modernism.
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Additional info for Bachelors, Manhood, and the Novel, 1850-1925
Alterations in nineteenth-century marriage patterns were understandably considered to have an inevitable impact, either immediate or delayed, on domestic ideologies and practices. During the second half of the nineteenth century in England and America, there was a decline, probably real and certainly perceived, in the ‘‘popularity’’ of marriage. ⁸ Moreover, between and , the proportion of American men over age fifty-five who had never married was actually increasing, even while the overall marriage rate was beginning to climb again.
In the stress and strain of this tense civilisation, luxury has been drawn close to necessity. ⁴⁸ While many contemporary writers condemned the craving for luxury as a sign of bachelors’ defection from the values of thrift and self-restraint, the psychological necessity of luxury is offered here as a moral justification for bachelorhood. ‘‘Very selfish no doubt. Yet not so altogether’’: given ‘‘the stress and strain of this tense civilization,’’ this writer counts luxury as a necessity so basic that marriage itself comes to seem an imprudent, even dangerous, extravagance.
The prevalence of men’s clubs, associations, and secret societies in the last third of the nineteenth century is just one register of the continuing salience of homosociality during this period. ³⁶ W. R. Greg censoriously acknowledges that [A]mong the middle and higher ranks [men are not] compelled to lead a life of stainless abstinence . . ’’³⁸ English men, both married and single, like their American counterparts, could participate actively in homosocial or sporting male subcultures whose values departed from those of hegemonic domestic ideology, and still be considered respectable.