'You ain't the man you was'

Learning to Be a Man Again in Charles Reade's A Simpleton

in Volume 23 (2011): Issue 1 (Mar 2011): 'Other Sensations'. Guest Editor: Janice M. Allan
Restricted access

This article examines the role of the sensation novel in the construction of male identities in the Victorian period through an examination of Charles Reade's A Simpleton, a Story of the Day (1873). This novel exploits Victorian anxieties surrounding male identity and seeks to affirm unstable concepts of masculinity through dominant codes of imperialism. O'Brien Hill argues that Reade's novel is unusual in the sensation canon due to the combination of the adventure sub-plot and sensational narrative devices, serving to expose the fluidity of male identity and Victorian fascination with the spectacle of masculinity in crisis.