Male And Female Relationships : An Important Integrant Of Nineteenth Century British Society And Literature
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Male-to-male relationships are an important integrant of nineteenth-century British society and literature. Throughout the nineteenth-century shifts of masculine self-identification took place (Dellamora, 2). And homosociality is the unacknowledged entity that exists between the intestacies of solid masculinity. Jean Lipman-Blumen defines homosocial as: Enjoyment, and/or preference for the company of the same sex…it does not necessarily involve…an explicitly erotic sexual interaction between members of the same sex (16).
It is clear from Lipman-Blumen’s study that there is a continuum between homosociality and homosexuality. However, in her definition, Lipman-Blumen introduces this “explicitly erotic sexual interaction” to be as a…show more content… Exploring Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s sensation novel Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) in light of Thomas Hardy’s cosmic tragedy Jude the Obscure (1895), which it must be said has not a great deal in common with Braddon’s novel. Indeed, the reason I have chosen to compare the two is because of the ways in which homosociality differs between class distinctions in their heavy masculine worlds, and how “male bonding” itself is spectral in Jude or secretive in LAS during this period. This essay will argue that these specific terms interrelated to homosociality demonstrate how both texts in their worlds treat it in this period.
Braddon’s text treats homosociality as a secret act of homoerotic desire in Robert Audley’s relationship with his best friend George Talboys. The passage states George “almost knocked down” Robert; but Robert’s states that George inadvertently “[threw] him down and [trampled] upon him” (29). Robert imagining this “tall and powerfully built” man (13) of “about his age” (29) throwing himself onto his body, surely initiates his homoerotic awakening. Yet Robert reacts with caution (“I’ve seen you somewhere…”) (29). because he is unsure what George’s intentions are. But on realising he is submissive to him, as George willingly allows Robert to “hook his