The body of the hero in the early nineteenth century

This chapter explores the significance of the physical body to the construction of the military hero as a model of masculinity in the first half of the nineteenth century. Henry William Paget, Lord Uxbridge and Marquess of Anglesey, was commended for his heroism at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) – heroism that resulted in the amputation of his left leg. The amputated limb was buried in a marked grave near the battlefield, but rather than becoming a celebrated monument to masculine military heroism, the burial proved to be controversial. This chapter surveys responses to the buried leg and concludes that the burial of a body part exposed the mundane corporeality of the male body, and that this undermined the military hero as a model of masculinity.

in Martial masculinities