August 2015

Adventures in the National Portrait Gallery #2

Room 24: Robert Browning


There are only two words that spring to mind whenever I am confronted with this portrait of Robert Browning: Neck and Beard. Continue reading “Adventures in the National Portrait Gallery #2”


Welcome to Victorian Masculinity

The nineteenth century was the age of the gentleman, the industrialist, the dandy, the man of letters, the imperialist. Victorian fiction too is filled with detectives, butlers, cads, clerks, actors, aristocrats, madmen and murderers. As an academic working in the field of masculinity studies, I’ll be posting about some of the fun things I find in the course of my research about Victorian constructions of manliness, as well as modern-day interpretations of the Victorian man in literature and film.

My aim is to make this blog as light-hearted as possible, although I’ll try to provide full references for any texts as I go along, and watch out for green text where I’ll include notes and links to any interesting books, blogs, publications, archives, or exhibitions relating to the theme of the post. Feel free to get in touch with your thoughts and recommendations.

I will also circulate Calls for Papers, forthcoming talks and events, and new books relating to masculinity studies and gender studies more broadly.

If you have a CFP or event you would like me to publicize, or if you would like to be considered as a guest blogger on a topic related to Victorian masculinites, then drop me a line at, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @VictorianMasc.

Adventures in the National Portrait Gallery 1

The National Portrait Gallery  is home to pretty much the world’s finest collection of Victorian gents. I was there recently on a research trip and I had forgotten quite how well the exhibition space is used to delineate the different ‘styles’ (to use James Eli Adams’s term) of nineteenth-century masculinity. For the first few posts, I’ll be doing some selected highlights from the NPG.

James Eli Adams, Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity (1995)

Room 23: Kitchener


Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum.

“Erm, Mr Kitchener?”

“What is it, man? Can’t you see I’m busy? Do you have any idea how much concentration it takes to look THIS DAMN MANLY?”

My god, have you ever beheld a more glorious specimen of imperial masculinity – or a more glorious moustache? This portrait shows Kitchener in the khakis of a Colonel of the Royal Engineers outside of Cairo in 1890. Continue reading “Adventures in the National Portrait Gallery 1”

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