The successful performance of a particular kind of masculinity was critical to political life during the eighteenth century, when men who claimed membership of the public sphere were expected to be men of honour as well as property. By the 1770s, however, the transformative effects of commerce and the claims of politeness complicated older certainties. Robert Jones examines how the parliamentary Opposition and their literary allies responded to political pressures and the emergencies of a disastrous war by fashioning a new mode of politics based on a more flexible range of masculinities. Basing his study on close readings of Edmund Burke and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the trials of General Burgoyne and Admiral Keppel, and the Whig appropriation of Thomas Chatterton, Jones explores how Opposition discourse risked the charge of effeminacy in order to fuse the languages of honour and sensibility.
Robert Jones is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds.
Introduction; 1. The character of opposition; 2. Edmund Burke and the law of empire; 3. The wounding of John Burgoyne; 4. Admiral Keppel and the honour of the nation; 5. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and the theatre of patriotism; 6. The victorious defeat of Thomas Chatterton; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.