Fragile Masculinity: an exploration into the construction of bourgeois male identity in 1850s London by Jessica Greaves
This article considers the first scene of the painting Past and Present (Augustus Egg, 1858) alongside a contemporary advertisement for Walter Berdoe: Tailor and Overcoat Maker (1854). Through these sources, the construction of masculinity in Victorian bourgeois society is explored. Masculinity studies is a burgeoning area of research, as traditionally focus has concerned the position of women and the imbalance of power between the genders. These artefacts are used as a lens to examine the changing status of male identity in 1850s London, and the complex balance between outward authority and internal instability.