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Manliness - Harvey Mansfield

Flambeur

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I understand many of you are familiar with the author and his work. Any thoughts or comments on this controversial book? For those unfamiliar with it:
From Publishers Weekly Harvard government professor Mansfield delves into philosophy, literature and science to define manliness and to argue that it should have a place in an increasingly non-gender-specific society. Throughout, Mansfield clearly states his intentions, and though he may have convinced himself he accomplished his goals, readers will be skeptical; when, for example, he sets out to "elevate manliness from aggression to assertion and thereby discover its connection to politics," he jumps from Hemingway to Achilles before posing a question that has little more than a thin patina of importance: "In our time there are many who say that heroes lack humanity and few who will admit that humanity needs heroes. But at all times heroes have to assert themselves. The question is, what is in it for us?" Similar murky questions and non-sequitur lines of logic continue throughout: "Man has fearsome powers of wisdom and fire over beasts. All beasts fear fire, which perhaps represents the Promethean gift of technology." This clunky chain of supposition is followed by a brief foray into The Jungle Book. But Mansfield's theories on gender equality are likely to create the most conversation: "women are the weaker sex," "women's bodies are made to attract and to please men" and "now that women are equal, they should be able to accept being told that they aren't, quite" all appear on the same page. Mansfield set out to write a provocative book, but ended up penning a juvenile screed.
AMAZON NPR
 

Manton

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"Many" of us? As far as I know, I am the only Harvey idolator on SF.

Great book. Not as great as his past books, but still. In this one he goes out of his way to shock, which I found amusing. But it put a lot of other people off.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by Manton
"Many" of us? As far as I know, I am the only Harvey idolator on SF.

Great book. Not as great as his past books, but still. In this one he goes out of his way to shock, which I found amusing. But it put a lot of other people off.


Yes, he does seem to enjoy being provocative, both in this book and the interviews (as well as his recent, perhaps even more controversial editorials regarding executive power and all that)

What other works of his do you like? I have his Machiavelli book, but haven't gotten to it yet. Any other comments on Manliness?
 

Augusto86

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If you need a book on how to be manly, perhaps you are not...

Should we have a Manliest SF Member thread? Perhaps in Dumb Threads?

I vote Libourel should start it and judge, because otherwise, he's throwing the curve for the rest of us!
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by Augusto86
If you need a book on how to be manly, perhaps you are not...


It's absolutely not a book on how to be manly. It's more of an academic discourse on the role of masculinity in history, culture, philosophy, and modern society.
 

King Francis

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Originally Posted by Manton
"Many" of us? As far as I know, I am the only Harvey idolator on SF.

Great book. Not as great as his past books, but still. In this one he goes out of his way to shock, which I found amusing. But it put a lot of other people off.


I've read some of his articles and even the text of a sermon he delivered at Appleton Chapel in Harvard's Memorial Church earlier this year, but haven't read Manliness. I read a few reviews that were favorable. I'd like to pick it up at some point. From what I've seen, we could use more scholars like Mansfield in higher education these days.
 

Augusto86

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Originally Posted by King Francis
I've read some of his articles and even the text of a sermon he delivered at Appleton Chapel in Harvard's Memorial Church earlier this year, but haven't read Manliness. I read a few reviews that were favorable. I'd like to pick it up at some point. From what I've seen, we could use more scholars like Mansfield in higher education these days.
Men?
Srsly though. Most of my profs were women. Or gay. Although my favorite professor was a gay author.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by Augusto86

Srsly though. Most of my profs were women. Or gay.

Although my favorite professor was a gay author.


it shows
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by King Francis
I've read some of his articles and even the text of a sermon he delivered at Appleton Chapel in Harvard's Memorial Church earlier this year, but haven't read Manliness. I read a few reviews that were favorable. I'd like to pick it up at some point. From what I've seen, we could use more scholars like Mansfield in higher education these days.

I really enjoyed reading the book. As with any philosophical inquiry, there are things that I agree with and there are things that I disagree with (mostly minor points or general direction) But it's definitely an interesting read if you are into long-winded philosophical/historical explorations.
 

Augusto86

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
it shows


Says the guy whose name is Flamer? In French??

 

King Francis

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Originally Posted by Augusto86
Men?


Srsly though. Most of my profs were women. Or gay.

Although my favorite professor was a gay author.


Hah, not necessarily. Just scholars committed to intellectual rigor and reasonableness who can write lucidly and with evidentiary support for their arguments, while breaking new ground on meaningful topics. Though that isn't the only way to formulate what I mean.

One of my favorite professors was a gay man, too. Though we did clash on some things. I don't think I had a single major professor with whom I did not find myself at odds at one time or another. Save for the ladies who taught me French. One was a maternal Italian woman fluent in six languages and the other was a young regulation hottie in high heels, all 5'2" of her. What good classes those were.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by Augusto86
Says the guy whose name is Flamer? In French??



Well maybe I am so comfortable with my... err... nevermind..

 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by King Francis
...maternal Italian woman fluent in six languages and the other was a regulation hottie in high heels, all 5'2" of her.



Although I must say, I still believe that to be a man, you must learn from other men. One way or another.
 

Baron

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The NPR show linked above it hilarious. Katha Pollitt comes on as a guest and is apoplectic.
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by Baron
The NPR show linked above it hilarious. Katha Pollitt comes on as a guest and is apoplectic.

definitely don't like her.
 

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