DOI link for Introduction
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the history of the construction of ‘gender at work’ as a literary and visual trope in the Victorian period and examine the ways in which ‘men’ and ‘work’ were used as virtual synonyms and the possibility of female labor excised. It focuses on men like Munby is an example of masculinity studies, which is itself indebted to feminism. Masculinity as a term was even available for analysis until feminist theory had denaturalized gender categories so that they longer seemed natural, biological givens. Male Victorian identity was modeled on the Protestant work ethic. Max Weber in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism summarizes this ethos: guided by John Calvin’s teaching, the ‘work ethic’ assumed that all people, especially men, were constrained to labor by the will of God, and that thrift and sobriety were necessary for salvation.