The Southern Gentleman and the Idea of Masculinity Essay

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Georgia State University ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University English Dissertations Department of English 12-12-2010 The Southern Gentleman and the Idea of Masculinity: Figures and Aspects of the Southern Beau in the Literary Tradition of the American South Emmeline Gros Georgia State University Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/english_diss Recommended Citation Gros, Emmeline, "The Southern Gentleman and the Idea of Masculinity: Figures and Aspects of the Southern Beau in the Literary Tradition of the American South." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2010. http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/english_diss/64 This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Department of English at ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University. It has been accepted for inclusion in English Dissertations by an authorized administrator of ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University. For more information, please contact scholarworks@gsu.edu. THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN AND THE IDEA OF MASCULINITY: FIGURES AND ASPECTS OF THE SOUTHERN BEAU IN THE LITERARY TRADITION OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH by EMMELINE GROS Under the Joint Direction of Thomas McHaney and Jacques Pothier ABSTRACT The American planter has mostly been presented as the epitome of the romantic cavalier legend that could be found in the fiction of John Pendleton Kennedy to Thomas Nelson Page: a man of chivalric manners and good breeding; a man of good social position; a man of wealth and leisure (Concise Oxford Dictionary).1 A closer scrutiny of the cavalier and genteel ethos of the time, however, reveals the inherent ideological inconsistencies with the idea of the gentleman itself, as the ideal came to be more and more perceived as an illusion and as challenges to traditional gender stereotypes came to redefine the nature and role of the Southern Gentleman.

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