Making the Philosophical Hero: 'Manliness,' Physical Force, and Political Efficacy in Robert Bisset's Douglas


Location: 339 O'Shaughnessy

Making The Philosophical Hero

The "philosophical hero" is an idealized male protagonist who features in many British political novels of the 1790s and 1800s. This period, known as the era of the "Revolution Debate," was characterized by the polarized response in British letters to the French Revolution and its violent aftermath. Many of the more well-known novels of this time are classified as "Jacobin" novels for their support of the democratic principles that guided the French Revolution, and their heroes are idealized rebels who articulate these democratic principles against the narrow-minded prejudices of many of the secondary characters. These heroes also display a great deal of physical prowess and often engage in daring rescues of vulnerable characters, and in doing so espouse traditional traits of heroic masculinity or "manliness," as it was termed in the period.

Research Workshop
Presenter: Jeremy Davidheiser

October 10
339 O'Shaughnessy

Jeremy Davidheiser is a third-year PhD student in English literature, specializing in the British long nineteenth century. He hopes to pursue a project that traces deployments of heroic masculinity throughout the nineteenth-century political novel, examining the tensions between the "manly" virtue of physical courage and the complicated ways political violence is understood, and largely condemned, in that period. His other interests include the history of warfare, empire, and the intersections between propaganda and literature in the nineteenth century.


In order to advance the program’s commitment to inter-disciplinary research and inquiry into the subject of gender, the Gender Studies Program is pleased to announce an upcoming series of research workshops. The events will include presentations by advanced undergraduates majoring in Gender Studies as well as graduate students and faculty members from a variety of departments who work in the area of gender and sexuality. The workshop will begin with the week’s presenter giving a brief lecture on his or her current research in the field, followed by a seminar-style discussion. 

Workshops are held on Tuesdays from 3:00pm-4:00pm and Thursdays from 5:00pm – 6:00 pm in 339 O’Shaughnessy unless otherwise specified below. The Joint Panels will be held on Fridays from 4:00pm-6:00pm in 119 O'Shaughnessy. 

If you would like to reserve a date for a presentation at one of the Research Workshops please contact one of our Research Workshop coordinators: Stacy Sivinski or Dominique Vargas.

Sponsored by the Marian Mullin Hancock Gender Studies Fund.

Research Workshops webpage