Polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) was deeply uncomfortable with and sometimes critical of the traditional masculine role into which he had been forced as a naval officer and national hero. Yet it was necessary for him to accept this role in order to fulfill his family obligations. Scott's life story suggests that the "flight from domesticity" postulated by John Tosh may not tell the full truth about late-Victorian and Edwardian masculinity. This article uses Scott's case to reconsider the standard picture of British manliness during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It describes the influence of gender roles and ideologies on Scott's formative years, then examines representations of him in biographical literature. The combination of "masculine" and "feminine" traits in Scott's character intrigued his early biographers. In contrast, some later writers viewed him as effeminate and therefore unheroic. Their criticisms indicate that the ideal of "hard" manliness among imperial heroes may be a construction of the post-imperial age.

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Journal Canadian Journal of History
Citation
Cavell, J. (2010). Manliness in the life and posthumous reputation of Robert Falcon Scott. Canadian Journal of History (Vol. 45, pp. 537–564).