Review of Claudia Nelson’s “Sex and the Single Boy: Ideals of Manliness and Sexuality in Victorian Literature for Boys” (1989)

Baker M. Bani-khair, Abdullah Badarneh, Majed Al-Qura'n, Fatimah Sarahneh


This article traces the idea of manliness, masculinity and sexuality, and its connection with children’s literature in the Victorian age. As such, it sheds light on the stereotypes that accompanied the prevalent conceptions about masculinity and manliness in the Victorian age. Additionally, it explains how sexuality was considered to be an issue that had strict ideals, stereotypes, rules, and restrictions because it was governed by the social, religious and structural pedagogy of the society. According to the Victorian ideals, “manliness” was regarded as a moral and religious virtue that can control sexual desires, and lessen the level of danger and threat to the moral structure of the society. Within the framework of manliness and masculinity, the article stresses the point that children’s literature was certainly the pivotal focus that reflects these stereotypes or the Victorian ideals since it was part of the educational, ethical, religious and social life, especially for children’s education and upbringing.


Children’s Literature, Manliness, Masculinity, Victorian Ideals, Ethics, Claudia Nelson

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Bani-Khair, Baker, Khawaldeh, Imad. "Then and Now: Approaches to Understanding Children's Literature in Two Volumes" Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 7(3), 80-84. 2016

Chandler, K. R. (2007). Thoroughly Post-Victorian, Pre-Modern Beatrix. "Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 32(4), 287-307: 41-44.

Nelson, Claudia. "Sex and the Single Boy: Ideals of Manliness and Sexuality in Victorian Literature for Boys." Victorian Studies 32.4 (1889): 525-50. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 March. 2018.

Nelson, Claudia.“Interdisciplinarity and Evolution: Victorian Studies as Ancestor,” Victorian Review 33.1(Spring 2007): 41-44. Web 7 May. 2018.

Tosh. John. "Gentlemanly Politeness and Manly Simplicity in Victroian England" Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 12:455-72 · Web 15 May 2018.



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