- Doctors, Dandies and New Men: Ella Hepworth Dixon and Late-Century Masculinities
- Women's Writing
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article examines Ella Hepworth Dixon's engagement with late-century models of masculinity, namely the doctor, dandy and the New Man, in The Story of a Modern Woman (1894). Specifically, it argues that Dixon isolates the doctor and the dandy as particularly threatening to the New Woman. Though these roles constitute radically different identities, she shows how they similarly confront the New Woman's feminist politics and stand in the way of her desire for intellectual, social and sexual equality. Dixon also gestures to more positive versions of masculinity, even if they are not fully realized in the novel. Many New Women, especially eugenic feminists and social purists, imagined a New Man who could be on equal terms with the New Woman. Such a figure is largely absent from Dixon's novel, though the artist Perry Jackson comes closest to New Manhood. Jackson's status as an artist frees him from conventionality, though his growing commercial interests challenge his non-conformity. Dixon's decision to avoid such an idealized relationship for Mary ultimately demonstrates her commitment to rejecting traditional love plots in favour of a more realistic mode.
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