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    Men and marriage in England, 1918-60 : consent, celebration and consummation

    Penlington, Neil Richard (2017) Men and marriage in England, 1918-60 : consent, celebration and consummation. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    The 1950s was perhaps the ‘golden age’ of marriage with a low marriage age, a high marriage rate and the seemingly ubiquitous ‘white wedding’. The ‘big day’ was not just the bride’s day: what did the process of getting married mean to the man and for masculinity? Starting after the Great War, this thesis charts the rise of the ritualistic engagement, the modern white wedding and the more widely available honeymoon holiday, to show changes and continuities in English masculinity by considering power relations between men and women, and between men. Through a close reading of a range of sources (including first-person testimonies, newspapers and etiquette manuals), power relations between bride and groom, and between different generations are revealed in the context of social class and the rise of consumerism. ‘Official’ discourses – taken from medical, legal, parliamentary and ecclesiastical sources – are also an important part of this thesis. Through analysis of changes in who was legally allowed to marry, the words uttered and sung at weddings, and the definition of consummation, masculinity is situated within a nexus of political, medical and religious developments. Gender and masculinity theory drives the analysis but it also draws on performativity and ritual theory to show some of the ‘invented traditions’ of the marriage process – consent, celebration and consummation – to suggest what these meant to men as men.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 12:15
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 13:27


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