Sons of 'the modern Athens'

The Classical Union of Athletic and Intellectual Masculinities in Charles Reade's Hard Cash

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 McGill University marc.ducusin@mcgill.ca
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Charles Reade's sensation novel Hard Cash (1863) ostensibly divides the qualities of athletic and intellectual prowess between its two main male characters, the Oxford rower Edward Dodd and the more academically inclined Alfred Hardie. Their contrasted pairing iterates the sensation genre's trope of doubled identities, while Reade's depiction of their respective aptitudes draws heavily on Classical ideals of male beauty and philosophical learning. Complicating the dichotomy, Alfred increasingly comes to embody the need for cohesion of body and intellect, thus illustrating Reade's vision of Oxford as a 'modern Athens' that 'cultivates muscle as well as mind.'

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