Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Tall histories: height and Georgian masculinities

McCormack, M. (2016) Tall histories: height and Georgian masculinities. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 26 0080-4401.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: Height is rarely taken seriously by historians. Demographic and archaeological studies tend to explore height as a symptom of health and nutrition, rather than in its own right, and cultural studies of the human body barely study it at all. Its absence from the history of gender is surprising, given that it has historically been discussed within a highly gendered moral language. This article therefore explores height through the lens of masculinity and focuses on the eighteenth century, when height took on a peculiar cultural significance in Britain. On the one hand, height could be associated with social status, political power and ‘polite’ refinement. On the other, it could connote ambition, militarism, despotism, foreignness and even castration. The article explores these themes through a case study of John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, who was famously tall and was frequently caricatured as such. As well as exploring representations of the body, the article also considers corporeal experiences and biometric realities of male height. It argues that histories of masculinity should study both representations of gender and their physical manifestations.
Creators: McCormack, Matthew
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Date: 29 September 2016
Date Type: Published Online
Journal or Publication Title: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
Volume: 26
Language: English
ISSN: 0080-4401
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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