Military Men of Feeling: Emotion, Touch, and Masculinity in the Crimean War

TitleMilitary Men of Feeling: Emotion, Touch, and Masculinity in the Crimean War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFurneaux, Holly
PublisherOxford University Press

This book offers a new way of thinking about Victorian men and the Victorian military. Though the nineteenth-century soldier has been perceived as emotionally buttoned up and stiff upper-lipped, this book explores the Victorian enthusiasm for military men of feeling. The book combines work by well-known writers—including Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charlotte Yonge—with previously unstudied writing and craft produced by soldiers in the Crimean War. It argues that published authors and soldiers typically rejected narratives of war violence in favour of accounts of nurturing, domesticated soldiers, home making, adopting children on the battlefield, and nursing the wounded. Throughout I focus on touch and emotion, looking, for example, at the experience of family feeling in regiments, and at how soldiers kept in touch with their families through the scraps of war material they sent home. The book considers how the figure of the gentle soldier contributes to the rethinking of gender roles, class, and military hierarchy in the mid-nineteenth century, and how this figure was used in campaigns for reform. It looks at the difficult mixed politics of the military man of feeling, who could also be used to make war more acceptable. (Furneaux)

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