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The Perfect Gentleman

Masculine Control in Victorian Men's Fiction, 1870-1901

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Karen V. Waters

The Perfect Gentleman sees the construct of the gentleman in the last third of the nineteenth century as a key to understanding the dynamics of patriarchy and the instability of gender roles. Through close readings of fiction by men, the author critiques the idea of the gentleman as a model for masculine control and examines the benefits, costs, and systems for maintaining control as they surface in the literature.