Cover image for What is a man? : 3,000 years of wisdom on the art of manly virtue
What is a man? : 3,000 years of wisdom on the art of manly virtue
Newell, Waller R. (Waller Randy), 1952-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : ReganBooks, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 790 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6071.M387 W43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



At a time when all of America is debating the wayward course of contemporary manhood, one thing has been missing from the conversation: a source to which concerned readers might turn for guidance and inspiration, a path back to the wisdom of our shared tradition of manly virtues.

Author Notes

Waller R. Newell is professor of political science and philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He was educated at the University of Toronto and Yale University. The author of numerous books and articles on classical, Renaissance, and modern European political philosophy and literature, he is a contributor to the Weekly Standard and other publications. He has been a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and a John Adams Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies at the University of London

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Some time ago Shakespeare wrote, "What is a man?" The question remains, still somewhat of a mystery. Newell (political science and philosophy, Carleton Univ., Ottawa) offers countless responses in this highly diversified anthology featuring the opinions of the famousDHomer, Plato, Sir Thomas Mallory, Chaucer, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Aesop, Cicero, Tolstoy, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, Shakespeare, of course, and also Anonymous, to name a few. All possibilities of manliness are explored: bravery, chivalry, eroticism, sexuality, aggression, hostility, violence, morality, love, and being a boy, husband, and father. Newell's pithy commentary adds the necessary touch of irony and, yes, insight into the unending search for manliness. What it means to be a man (in any age), with all of its attendant virtues and vices, is a complex subject, not readily agreed upon, understood, or accepted. Newell, with his new collection, suggests persuasively that the quest should continue. Recommended for all public libraries.DRobert L. Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Thomas BulfinchAndreas CapellanusBaldesar CastiglioneThomas BulfinchAndreas CapellanusThomas BulfinchSir Thomas MaloryBaldesar CastiglioneFrancis BaconXenophonThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchAristophanes (from Plato)Thomas BulfinchThomas Bulfinch and Sir Thomas MalorySir Thomas MaloryOvidThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchSir Thomas MalorySir Thomas MalorySir Thomas MaloryAndreas CapellanusSir Thomas MaloryThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchSir Thomas MaloryThomas BulfinchGeoffrey ChaucerAndreas CapellanusGeoffrey ChaucerGeoffrey ChaucerWilliam ShakespeareThomas BulfinchJean-Jacques RousseauJohann Wolfgang von GoetheKarl HillebrandJohann Wolfgang von GoetheEdith WhartonJane AustenLord ChesterfieldLord ChesterfieldTheophrastusJonathan SwiftSir Richard SteeleAnthony TrollopeWilliam ShenstoneSir Richard SteeleFrancis BaconJane AustenLord ChesterfieldAnthony TrollopeGeoffrey ChaucerFrancis BaconBaldesar CastiglioneTheophrastusJohn LockeAristotleTheophrastusDiogenes LaertiusEcclesiastesPlatoThomas BulfinchPlatoFrancis BaconBaldesar CastiglioneJohn LockeAristotleCiceroJohn LockePlatoWilliam WordsworthSt. AugustineThe Bhagaval-GitaJohn WoolmanW. B. YeatsWilliam JamesMarcus AureliusWilliam WordsworthDesiderius ErasmusSt. AugustinePlatoLeo TolstoyHomerMichel de MontaigneThomas HughesHomerMark TwainXenophonJacopo SadoletoDesiderius ErasmusAesopQuintillianAesopJacopo SadoletoAesopWilliam ShakespeareThomas HughesJacopo SadoletoXenophonLeon Battista AlbertiAesopJacopo SadoletoTheodore RooseveltThomas HughesThomas BulfinchJacopo SadoletoWilliam WordsworthAesopLord ChesterfieldLeon Battista AlbertiThomas HughesXenophonAesopTheodore RooseveltLeon Battista AlbertiLord ChesterfieldWilliam ShakespeareMichel de MontaigneAesopPlutarchJacopo SadoletoWilliam ShakespeareWilliam ShakespeareHomerThomas BulfinchHomerWilliam ShakespeareJohn Stuart MillFrancis BaconWilliam ShakespeareFrancis BaconLeon Battista AlbertiBenjamin FranklinJohn Stuart MillRobert G. IngersollRudyard KiplingAesopFrancis BaconWilliam Butler YeatsHomer1 SamuelWilliam ShakespeareHomerAesopDesiderius ErasmusThomas BulfinchThomas BulfinchWilliam ShakespeareAesopRalph Waldo EmersonJohn Richard GreenAesopNiccolo MachiavelliHenry St. John and Viscount BolingbrokeQueen Elizabeth IPlatoThomas BulfinchRosemary SutcliffeThomas BulfinchFrancois P. G. GuizotWilliam ShakespeareCharles de GaulleEdmund BurkePlutarchWilliam ShakespeareAesopCharles de GaulleCiceroAesopCharles James FoxCiceroAesopCharles de GaulleNiccolo MachiavelliAesopEdmund BurkeWinston S. ChurchillThucydidesAesopThomas BulfinchCharles de GaulleM. S. ShumilovAesopJohn Fitzgerald KennedyLeo TolstoyWilliam ShakespeareStephen CraneAristotleTheophrastusLeo TolstoyStuds TerkelLieutenant-Colonel John McRae, M.D.Thomas BulfinchAristotleWilliam ShakespeareHomerCharles DickensLeon Battista AlbertiWinston S. ChurchillWendell PhillipsRudyard KiplingWilliam ShakespeareWilliam WordsworthSenecaFrederick DouglassWilliam ShakespeareRed JacketTecumsehHomerAleksandr SolzhenitsynThomas JeffersonPatrick HenryRalph Waldo EmersonJosiah QuincyAlexis de TocquevilleJohn Quincy AdamsCharles James FoxEdward EverettAlexis de TocquevilleAbraham LincolnAlexis de TocquevilleHenry WattersonHenry Ward BeecherMartin Luther King Jr.Theodore RooseveltJohn Fitzgerald KennedyMark TwainAlexis de TocquevilleCaptain Robert E. LeeWilliam H. HerndonAlexis de TocquevilleTheodore RooseveltAlbert J. BeveridgeRalph Waldo EmersonTheodore RooseveltBenjamin FranklinAlbert J. BeveridgeRalph Waldo EmersonTheodore RooseveltAlbert J. BeveridgeTheodore RooseveltErnest HemingwayJohn CheeverJames DeanFinbarr O'ReillyMilan KunderaCharles MandelLieutenant-Colonel Dave GrossmanMichael KellyBrian LowryDonna LaframboiseBarbara EhrenreichJonathan ForemanNino RicciMichael MedvedMichelle WauchopeRaymond CarverSocial DistortionDavid Foster WallacePatrick Buckley
Acknowledgmentsp. XV
Introductionp. XVII
1. The Chivalrous Manp. 1
The Manly Loverp. 4
Orphens and Eurydicep. 4
The Art of Courtly Lovep. 6
Love and Self-Perfectionp. 8
Isis and Osirisp. 10
The Rules of Lovep. 12
Love and Valorp. 14
Why Lancelot Doesn't Marryp. 14
Older Men Make Better Loversp. 15
Love or Wisdom?p. 21
Love or Duty?p. 23
Lancelot and Gueneverp. 26
Dido and Aeneasp. 32
Breaking Up Is Hard to Dop. 33
Unmanly Temptationsp. 36
Diana and Actaeonp. 36
Seduction by the Devilp. 38
Love, Honor and Chastityp. 40
On Adulteryp. 43
Tristram and Isoudep. 44
Sir Lancelot Disgracedp. 52
Apollo and Daphnep. 54
The Narcissistp. 56
The Temptation of Sir Gawainp. 58
Manliness Toward Womenp. 61
Ladies Firstp. 61
Never Use Force Against a Womanp. 64
Attraction to Beauty Is No Excusep. 65
Every Man Thinketh His Own Lady Fairestp. 68
How a Man Can Increase and Decrease a Lady's Lovep. 70
Stalkers Beware!p. 71
Advice to Husbands: Don't Use Your Wife to Bait a Trapp. 72
The Death of Robin Hoodp. 74
Revenge Against Women Is Shamefulp. 75
What Women Really Want in a Manp. 77
Stick Your Neck Out and Close Your Eyesp. 80
Can a Businessman Make a Good Lover?p. 81
The Testimony of a Disappointed Wifep. 82
The Wife of Bath Has the Last Wordp. 83
Sigh No More, Ladiesp. 84
The Romantic Manp. 85
Pyramus and Thisbep. 85
Emile and Sophyp. 87
The Sorrows of Youthp. 93
The Spread of Wertherism Among Young Menp. 100
Lotte! Lotte, Farewell!p. 103
The Age of Innocencep. 105
2. The Gentlemanp. 115
A Well-Bred Manp. 119
Austen on Gentlemanlinessp. 119
A Gentleman Avoids Vulgarityp. 128
The Sun Kingp. 131
The Importance of Good Grooming and Good Companyp. 132
The Boorp. 135
The Art of Good Mannersp. 136
A Club Manp. 140
The Country Gentlemanp. 145
Gentlemanly Reservep. 152
The Ugly Clubp. 155
Manly Character and Conductp. 156
The Rules of Harvard College (1643)p. 156
A Travel Guide for Young Menp. 157
Pride and Prejudicep. 159
Do Not Be a Rakep. 169
John Grey, the Worthy Manp. 170
The Knightp. 181
Honor and Reputationp. 182
Temperancep. 183
The Man Without Moral Feelingp. 186
Practice Makes Perfectp. 187
On Friendshipp. 189
The Lover of Bad Companyp. 191
3. The Wise Manp. 193
The Wise Man of Affairsp. 196
Where Do You Shop for Wisdom?p. 196
My Son, Be Admonished!p. 197
How Should a Young Man Live?p. 198
Daedalus and Icarusp. 202
The Man of Disciplinep. 204
Virtue or Vice?p. 207
The Value of Studyp. 212
Why a Man Must Be Liberally Educated If He Is to Gain Eternal Famep. 214
Men's Happiness or Misery Is Mostly of Their Own Makingp. 215
The Contemplative Man and the Active Manp. 219
The Dream of Scipiop. 224
A Man of Principlesp. 229
How a Grown Man Should Livep. 234
A Wise Man Withinp. 238
The Child Is Father of the Manp. 238
The Painful Path to Manhoodp. 238
The Man of Eternal Renunciationp. 242
Youthp. 243
The Four Ages of Manp. 248
Rellections on a Man's Successp. 249
A Man Must Stand Erectp. 253
Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Childhoodp. 259
Death Is Not to Be Fearedp. 265
The True Spirit of Manp. 266
The Two Pathsp. 269
The Myth of the Cavep. 272
Levin Wonders About the Meaning of Lifep. 274
4. The Family Manp. 287
Boys into Menp. 290
Telemachus's Search for a Fatherp. 290
Educating Boysp. 294
The Value of a Fair Fightp. 299
Telemachus Finds His Fatherp. 301
The New Kid in Townp. 305
The Education of Cyrusp. 308
An Early Critic of Rock Music?p. 311
Bringing Up a Princep. 311
The Lion and the Mousep. 317
It Is Held That Schools Corrupt the Moralsp. 317
The Boy and the Filbertsp. 324
Shame Is Good in a Boyp. 325
The Hare and the Tortoisep. 325
A Father's Advice: Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Bep. 326
Boys and Teachers Are Honorable Foesp. 327
A Boy Should Be His Own Best Criticp. 328
Cyrus Visits His Grandfatherp. 329
The Duties and Education of Childrenp. 330
The Shepherd's Boy and Wolfp. 332
Youth Must Respect Agep. 332
The Right Kind of Boy: Brave and Tenderp. 333
The Value of a Boy's Friendshipsp. 335
The Manly Fatherp. 338
Phaeton Aims Too Highp. 338
A Father and Son Discuss Educationp. 344
I Have a Boy of Five Years Oldp. 346
The Farmer and His Sonp. 348
Apply Yourself, My Boyp. 349
A Father Pays Attention All the Timep. 351
A Father's Parting Advicep. 353
Cyrus's Father Advises Him on Governingp. 355
The Father and His Sonsp. 358
A Real Man Loathes Cruelty and Injusticep. 358
A Father Sets the Examplep. 362
A Father Must Be His Son's Guide to Maturityp. 368
Son, What Have I Done to Deserve This?p. 370
On the Affection of Fathers for Their Childrenp. 374
The King's Son and the Painted Lionp. 378
A Roman Fatherp. 379
Fathers Must Earn Their Authorityp. 382
This Fair Child of Minep. 385
A Man's Journeyp. 386
The Seven Ages of Manp. 386
Odysseus Comes Homep. 387
The Halcyon Birdsp. 389
Hektor and Andromache on the Walls of Troyp. 394
Can a Man Be Too Honest?p. 396
A Son's Mixed Feelingsp. 397
Married or Single?p. 401
Is It for Fear to Wet a Widow's Eye?p. 402
The Joys of Parents Are Secretp. 403
A Childless Man Can Be a Fatherp. 403
Advice to a Young Man on Marrying Earlyp. 406
My Wife Is My Best Friendp. 408
At His Brother's Gravep. 412
Mother o'Minep. 413
A Man and His Wifep. 414
Youth Versus Agep. 414
Why Should Not Old Men Be Mad?p. 416
5. The Statesmanp. 417
The Kingly Manp. 422
Two Kings Clashing: Achilles and Agamemnonp. 422
David and Goliathp. 424
An Insulting Gift to a Young Monarchp. 430
Achilles and Agamemnon Reconciledp. 432
The Kingdom of the Lionp. 433
The Good Prince and the Evil Princep. 433
The Good and Great Man Beowulfp. 435
Theseus, the Minotaur and Other Adventuresp. 437
Henry the Fifth Rallies His Troops Before the Walls of Harfleurp. 440
The Frogs Ask for a Kingp. 441
Napoleon, Man of the Worldp. 442
Alfred the Great, a Model King and Manp. 443
Tyrants Will Always Be with Usp. 447
The Outstandingly Virtuous Princep. 447
The Patriot Kingp. 450
To Be a Kingp. 454
Who Should Pilot the Ship of State?p. 457
The Oath of the Knights of the Round Tablep. 458
The King of Sherwood Forestp. 459
The Midas Touchp. 460
The Career of Charlemagnep. 462
We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothersp. 465
Manly Leaders and Citizensp. 467
The Man of Characterp. 467
Letter to Benjamin Franklinp. 471
The Model Citizenp. 473
I Come to Bury Caesar, Not to Praise Himp. 477
The Mice in Councilp. 480
Prestige and the Mystique of Manly Authorityp. 480
Everything That Entitles a Man to Praisep. 484
The Thief and the House Dogp. 485
Liberty Is Order, Liberty Is Strengthp. 485
To Live Up to an Ideal!p. 486
The Wolf and the House Dogp. 487
Comparing the Statesman and the Soldierp. 488
Always Be Prepared for Warp. 489
The Wolves to the Sheep: Give Peace a Chancep. 491
What Is the Duty of a Statesman to the Voters?p. 491
At Last I Had the Authority. I Slept Soundlyp. 494
Pericles's Funeral Oration and Thucydides's Assessment of His Statesmanshipp. 499
The Wolves to the Sheep Dogs: Give Peace a Chancep. 508
6. The Noble Manp. 509
The Man of Valorp. 513
A Fair Fightp. 513
The Virtues of the Soldierp. 515
Not One Step Back Unless Ordered! The Battle of Stalingradp. 521
The Lion in Lovep. 527
The Meaning of Couragep. 528
A Young Man's First Battlep. 534
Make War, Not Lovep. 538
He Had Dreamed of Battles All His Lifep. 538
On Couragep. 551
The Cowardp. 552
"Oh, to Die, to Die for Him!"p. 553
The Good Warp. 558
In Flanders Fieldsp. 562
Friends Through Fighting: Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and Little Johnp. 563
The Man of Integrity and Honorp. 568
The Great-Souled Manp. 568
A Counterfeit Manp. 571
Achilles Fights a River and Learns a Lessonp. 572
Moral Couragep. 574
Conquer Fortune with Patiencep. 575
The Generous Majesty of His Nature: Lawrence of Arabiap. 577
Toussaint L'Ouverture: Soldier, Statesman, Martyrp. 581
Ifp. 583
Warriors Don't Always Make the Best Husbandsp. 585
The Happy Warriorp. 588
The Value of Adversity to a Great Manp. 590
Triumphing over Adversityp. 593
What Is a Man?p. 602
There Was a Time When Our Forefathers Owned This Great Islandp. 603
My Forefathers Were Warriorsp. 605
The Hero Deepenedp. 606
The Ascentp. 609
7. The American Manp. 617
The American Herop. 621
Freedom in All Just Pursuitsp. 621
The Call to Armsp. 623
It Is Natural to Believe in Great Menp. 626
The Glory of Our Fathersp. 629
Democracy and the Great Manp. 630
The Sword of Washington! The Staff of Franklin!p. 632
Illustrious Man!p. 633
Such Men Cannot Diep. 635
Manly Honor in Democracy and Aristocracyp. 636
"Towering Genius Disdains a Beaten Path."p. 638
Why There Are So Many Men of Ambition in the United States but So Few Lofty Ambitionsp. 643
It Was Reserved for Him to Have Commandp. 648
His Life Now Is Grafted Upon the Infinitep. 649
I Have a Dreamp. 652
A Man Among Menp. 656
Were We Truly Men?p. 658
Robin Hood or the White House?p. 660
Manhood in Americap. 662
The Democratic Dadp. 662
An American Father: Robert E. Leep. 666
"A Natural Made Gentleman"p. 676
Men and Women in Americap. 682
Men Who Greatly Daredp. 685
Young Husbandsp. 688
Moral Force Gives a Man Both Fearlessness and Tranquillityp. 691
Family Life and the Average Man's Dutyp. 693
The Whistlep. 694
The College Manp. 696
A Man Must Be a Nonconformistp. 699
A Successful Manp. 701
The Young Man's Second Wind: On Facing the World at Fiftyp. 704
No Man Is Happy If He Does Not Workp. 709
8. The Invisible Manp. 713
Rebellion and Despairp. 716
The End of Somethingp. 716
Oh Damn Them All, Thought the Adolescentp. 720
"Most Young Men Do Not Stand Like Ramrods or Talk Like Demosthenes."p. 721
The Dark Side: Why Teenaged Boys Are Drawn to Insanity, Death and Warp. 722
What Then Shall We Choose? Weight or Lightness?p. 725
Video Games Get Very Very Ugly: Masochism, Mutilation, Prostitutionp. 726
Television's Virus of Violence and the Jonesboro Schoolyard Shootingsp. 729
Why the U.S. Won't Go to Warp. 734
Gender Traits Tie T.V. Execs in Knotsp. 736
Roll Back the Red Carpet for Boysp. 739
Marginal Menp. 741
The Confusions of Lovep. 745
The Dangerous Game of Datingp. 745
Collecting Broken Glassp. 748
The Sinking of Mature Romancep. 752
Enchanting and Repulsive: What Is Gothic?p. 755
Dad? I Wish I'd Known You When You Were Littlep. 759
Born to Lose in 1962p. 762
Sex and That Postmodernist Girlp. 763
Each Otherp. 770
"I Don't Want to Sacrifice Myself or My Family."p. 772
Conclusion: A Return to Manliness?p. 777