Dawson, Graham, Imagining Masculinities (London: Routledge, 1994)
Fantasies about empire building, masculinity, and nationalism have old and long depended upon the contruction of soldier heroes. These myths have provided a sense of national community, a sense of gender, and above all, a sense of imperial politics that has, more cases than not, treated countries as maps and not as populations.
In "Soldier Heroes," Graham Dawson explores the making of the soldier hero mythology drawing upon the work of 19th century adventure stories. Using a wide field of literary theory and psychoanalysis, Dawson explore the construction of the soldier hero in the western imagination. He looks at books such as Scott's Waverley; and the Victorian biography of Sir Henry Havelock, who served the British in India during the time of the Indian Mutiny Rebellion in 1857. Dawson also examines the manufacturing Lawrence of Arabia, and the cultural politics of his "becoming an Arab". He critically reads such works as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and eventually relates the soldier hero discourse to psychoanalytic concepts of pleasure, fablation, phantasy, and memory.
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