In a sensitive and provocative
study of six great works of British literature, David Rosen traces the evolution
of masculinity, inviting readers to contemplate the shifting joys and sorrows
men have experienced throughout the last millennium, and the changing but constant
tensions between their lives and ideals. Focusing on Beowulf, Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight, Hamlet, Paradise Lost, Hard Times, and Sons and
Lovers, Rosen shows how the actions of heroes fail to resolve tensions between
masculine ideals and male experiences.