New Masculine Heroes: Davy, Bacon and the Construction of the Gentleman-Scientist

  • Heather Ellis
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


While the early nineteenth century witnessed widespread worries about the British man of science, it also saw the creation of new models of scientific masculinity, intimately bound up with shifts in contemporary understandings of gender identity. According to James Secord, ‘The role for the enquirer into nature was also being transformed, from older images of scholarship and learning to the new ideal of the heroic discoverer, engaged single-mindedly in the investigation of nature.’1 Jan Golinski has described the turn of the nineteenth century as a ‘critical moment’, witnessing a ‘profound transformation’ in the development of the identity of the male scientist. Stressing in particular, the influence of Romanticism, Golinski writes that, ‘[t]he years around the turn of the nineteenth century brought to prominence models of male creativity that stressed imagination and the emotions, rather than classical rationality’.2


Royal Society Royal Institution British Association Inaugural Lecture Cultural Authority 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Ellis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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