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Representing naval manhood in the British Empire, 1870–1918
Author: Mary A. Conley

The later nineteenth century was a time of regulation and codification, which was part of the Victorian search for reliability and respectability. This book examines the intersection between empire, navy, and manhood in British society from 1870 to 1918. It sheds light upon social and cultural constructions of working-class rather than elite masculinities by focusing on portrayals of non-commissioned naval men, the 'lower deck', rather than naval officers. Through an analysis of sources that include courts-martial cases, sailors' own writings, and the HMS Pinafore, the book charts new depictions of naval manhood during the Age of Empire. It was a period of radical transformation of the navy, intensification of imperial competition, democratisation of British society, and advent of mass culture. The book argues that popular representations of naval men increasingly reflected and informed imperial masculine ideals in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. It explains how imperial challenges, technological changes and domestic pressures transformed the navy and naval service from the wake of the Crimean War to the First World War. How female-run naval philanthropic organisations domesticated the reputation of naval men by refashioning the imagery of the drunken debauched sailor through temperance and evangelical campaigns is explained. The naval temperance movement was not singular in revealing the clear class dimensions in the portrayal of naval manhood. The book unveils how the British Bluejacket as both patriotic defender and dutiful husband and father stood in sharp contrast to the stereotypic image of the brave but bawdy tar of the Georgian navy.

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Gender, navy and empire
Mary A. Conley

these images within popular culture, especially given that the Queen’s Regulations forbade naval personnel to speak publicly about naval affairs. 37 For the most part, these images still remained the domain of elites who controlled popular discourse produced within press, literature and advertisements. By the end of the century, non-commissioned naval men would find more opportunities to articulate

in From Jack Tar to Union Jack
Social mobility, heroism and naval manhood
Mary A. Conley

seamen served as useful backdrops in Kingston’s stories, he seldom centred entire stories around ordinary non-commissioned naval men. Most of Kingston’s maritime stories focused on beneficent naval officers and young officers-in-the-making. For example, in Three Midshipmen (1873), he charted the adventures of three dutiful and brave midshipmen who rise in their naval careers to become admirals

in From Jack Tar to Union Jack