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Death in the Victorian Family$
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Pat Jalland

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201885.001.0001

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Widowers: Gendered Experiences of Widowhood

Widowers: Gendered Experiences of Widowhood

(p.251) 12 Widowers: Gendered Experiences of Widowhood
Death in the Victorian Family

Pat Jalland

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the emotional responses and bereavement of Victorian men when faced with the death of their wife. In this chapter the differences of the coping mechanism of widows and widowers are discussed briefly wherein men are considered to adjust psychologically and socially faster than the women but individually, they appeared to feel a sense of grief for longer than women. In the chapter, the discussion also centres on the different coping methods of the widowers in terms of remarriage, professional consolation, alcoholism, and controlled expression of grief due to the emerging concept of masculinity wherein controlled emotions were hailed as ideal. Four cases of Victorian widowers are presented in this chapter to illustrate the experience of widowhood in men. These case studies illustrate the gender differences in coping with death during the Victorian period. Men of the 19th century found consolation in remarriage and work whereas women depended on the support of family and friends. However, men were expected to repress grief during the period of bereavement but were expected to recover rapidly.

Keywords:   emotional responses, bereavement, Victorian men, death, grief, widowers, remarriage, professional consolation, controlled emotions, case studies

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