A Flight from Commitment? Domesticity, Adventure and the Masculine Imaginary in Britain after the Second World War

  title={A Flight from Commitment? Domesticity, Adventure and the Masculine Imaginary in Britain after the Second World War},
  author={Martin Francis},
  journal={Gender \& History},
The year 1948 saw the publication of Marriage Crisis, an earnest volume authored by David Mace, a former nonconformist minister and the first General Secretary of the influential voluntary body, the National Marriage Guidance Council (NMGC).1 His book spoke to a preoccupation in Britain in the immediate post-war years with the viability of family life, as experts evaluated the long-term consequences of wartime dislocation and sought to explain a recent dramatic rise in the divorce rate… 

Sexuality in Europe: Cold War cultures 1945???1965

What made sexual conservatism popularly appealing after the continent-wide carnage of World War II? Many factors converged. Guilt, fear, exhaustion, immeasurable loss, an elemental longing for

The Struggle of the Male Self: A New Left Activist and His 1961 Diary

  • C. Hughes
  • History
    Journal of British Studies
  • 2015
Abstract This article examines the 1961 diary of a new left young activist to explore his fractured sense of personal and political self. At the height of the Cold War, John Hoyland was an

Unpiecing the Jigsaw: Compulsive Heterosexuality, Sex Crime, Class and Masculinity in Early 1960s British Cinema

This article explores the discursive intersections of masculinity, class and heterosexual desire in the still undervalued British police procedural film, Jigsaw. It considers the film both as an

Being a Man, Being a Member: Masculinity and Community in Britain’s Working Men’s Clubs, 1945–1960*

Abstract By 1960, there were more than 3,500 working men’s clubs in Britain, with a combined membership of more than two million people. This article explores their post-war transformation from small

The Idea of Race in Interwar Britain: Religion, Entertainment and Childhood Experiences.

Historians writing on the subject of race have largely focused on the period after the SecondWorld War: the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in 1948 has become a defining symbol ofBritain?s

The Afterlife of Empire

“Quietly dazzling. . . . In this gripping account of welfare’s postcolonial history, Jordanna Bailkin throws the archives wide open and invites us to walk through them with new eyes—and with renewed

The History of Masculinity: An Outdated Concept?

It may seem premature to raise the possibility of a redundant specialism when, as recently as the mid-1980s, the history of masculinity did not yet exist in Britain. Indeed, the very idea was absent

Gentlemanly Professionals and Men-about-Town: Occupational Identities Amongst London Advertising Men, 1951–67

The paper explores the subjective identities of London advertising men in the immediate post-war decades. It does so in the context of both the moves to professionalize advertising in these years and

Dunkirk and the Popular Memory of Britain at War, 1940—58

The evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk in 1940 has an iconic place in British culture. This article draws on a concept of popular memory that suggests that rival versions of the past compete

Old Comrades: A study of the formation of ex-military communities in Tyne and Wear since the Great War

Although veterans are a permanent feature of British society, how ex-service men and women have come to understand their identities as individuals has not received the attention from historians this




This review will survey some of the most important historical studies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British masculinity which have appeared in the last decade. It endorses John Tosh's

A Man's Place. Masculinity and the Middle Class Home in Victorian England

John Tosh's book is a signal event. It celebrates the full coming of age of the history of masculinity as a recognised academic sub-discipline. If Davidoff and Hall laid the foundations in this

‘Returning to Manderley’: Romance Fiction, Female Sexuality and Class

Thus opens Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, published in 1938. With thirty-nine impressions and translations into twenty languages in as many years, Rdebecca was and still is an enormous bestseller.

Domesticating the Frontier: Gender, Empire and Adventure Landscapes in British Cinema, 1945–59

Before 1945, films of the empire genre, produced in Hollywood as well as Britain, celebrated the masculinity of the British adventure hero, and promoted an imperial world view. This article explores

When the war was over : women, war, and peace in Europe, 1940-1956

Introduction, Claire Duchen and Irene Bandhauer-Schoffmann discourses of war and gender -"it did me good in lots of ways" -British women in transition from war to peace, Penny Summerfield mothers of

Heroes and Misfits: The Troubled Social Reintegration of Disabled Veterans in "The Best Years of Our Lives"

s him from the workaday social world. People with disabilities increasingly have come to recognize this constricted conception of the disabled as a fundamental source of their oppression.44 Of

Family Affairs: A History of the Family in Twentieth-Century England

The decades between the close of World War I and the end of the Thatcher era have changed and challenged family life in England dramatically. The Depression and World War II shifted priorities and

British culture and the end of empire

Acknowledgements General editor's introduction Introduction 1. The persistence of empire in metropolitan culture - John M. Mackenzie 2. Empire loyalists and 'Commonwealth men': The round table and

Look Back in Anger: Men in the Fifties

‘A new hero has risen among us’, wrote Walter Allen in his influential review of Kingsley Amis’s first novel, Lucky Jim, in January 1954.2 The new hero is male, the ‘intellectual tough’ or ‘tough

Fantasies of Metropolitan Life: Planning London in the 1940s

  • F. Mort
  • History
    Journal of British Studies
  • 2004
Social historians have highlighted a number of major trends shaping the development of London’s metropolitan area and its urban populations during the 1940s and 1950s. The most significant blueprint