Bodies of Men
Bodies of Men
This chapter explores what qualities of manliness were valued in Canadian colonial discourse in the first half of the nineteenth century. Evaluations of Irish manliness in Lower and Upper Canada were not only the result of social constructions, but also of people’s emotional reactions to the stories that they heard about Irishmen arriving in their towns, cities, and countryside. Codes of Irish manliness in the Canadas, as elsewhere in the empire, included both dominant and demeaning cultural representations that were the result of only a handful of real experiences and were much more products of fantasy and the ‘wild Irish’ stereotype that had followed them across the ocean. However, these same presumptions were powerful in determining how Irishmen were accepted or rejected as fellow settlers, as well as affecting individual Irishmen’s private thoughts and public actions.
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