Downing_Restless-Men-coverRestless Men:
Masculinity and Robinson Crusoe, 1788-1840

Karen Downing (author)

Around the turn of the nineteenth century Robinson Crusoe turns up remarkably often in material dealing with the emerging Australian colonies. The call to adventure and do-it-yourself guide to settlement in Daniel Defoe’s novel resonated strongly with British explorers and settlers. But Crusoe did not make men restless: restlessness was the expression of unresolved tensions in men’s lives between ideals, aspirations, traditions and material circumstances, the tension between what men felt they should do and what was actually possible. Crusoe seemingly reconciled these tensions, showing that a man could be both wild and domesticated. Karen Downing traces the links in a discursive chain by which a particular male subjectivity was forged. Through the rarely studied interrelationship between public representations of manliness and self-representations by men in more private writings, she reveals how restless men took their restlessness with them, so that the Australian colonies never were a solution to men’s anxieties.

Reviews: Sydney Morning Herald; Australian Historical Studies; Digital DefoeThe Resident Judge of Port Phillip.

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ANU Inspiring Women

Karen Downing (project manager)

This book is a celebration of some of the many inspirational women at the Australian National University, the culmination of a year-long project that highlights women’s contribution to all facets of campus life. The book proudly showcases a side of ANU that depends on the vivacity, warmth, intellectual power and personal courage that women bring to it. The ANU Inspiring Women project was undertaken by the ANU Gender Institute and it was launched by ANU Vice Chancellor Ian Young in March 2013.

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