Travel was an important part of elite life. Until the growth of cheap railway transport in the 1880s, long-distance travel was an expensive luxury, and one element of the conspicuous display of elite life. Travel was also considered a key stage in the development of masculinity. Through travel, young men practiced and rehearsed the values they had learnt at home, at school and, for many, at university, but in far more unfamiliar and foreign circumstances. The experience was a moral ordeal, a test of manliness. Young men were to mix in what was deemed to be manly society, whether this was the courts of Europe during the eighteenth century, the beauties of the British Isles during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, or amongst other white men in the outposts of the British Empire later in the period. Equally important, particularly in encounters with colonial ‘others’, was the identification of effeminate and unmanly men. Gender, along with ethnicity, was a central orgainsing principle in hierarchies of the colonial world. Either way, the experience was intended to be ‘transformative’ in social and gender terms, to ‘polish’ unwanted external characteristics and to hone the internal virtues of manliness.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number