The Spectator, Dance, and Masculinity in Early 18th‐Century England
John Bryce Jordan proposes that the linkage between the male dancer and the stigma of effeminacy began in the early 18th century, rather than in the 19th century, as other dance writers and scholars have proposed. Through an analysis of writings in the Spectator, one of the first modern English‐language periodicals (London, 1711–41), Jordan demonstrates how concepts related to masculinity emerged through satire and social commentary, illuminating period understandings of dance as a socially meaningful, gendered practice. Characters who are deemed “problem men” are critiqued by “Mr. Spectator” for wardrobe, manners, and style of country dancing, and include Mr. Shapley, the “beau” (a woman's man, such as Dick Crastin and Tom Tulip), John Trott, Mr. Fanfly, and Mr. Prim. Rather than a marginal activity, dance is shown to be a prominent site for the performance of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors for men in early 18th‐century England.
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