Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Making a Man
Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel

By Gwen Hyman

“The contributions to nineteenth-century cultural studies, food studies, and studies in the novel are striking and significant. The readings of wine and food are superb.... The linkage the author draws between aliment and the identity of the gentleman is groundbreaking.”

Donald E. Hall, Literary and Cultural Theory

“Gwen Hyman’s Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel is a subtle and persuasive account of the nineteenth-century novel’s reliance on shifting relations between ‘the alimental gentleman’ and what that gentleman eats and drinks…. (A) significant and engaging book.”

Victorian Studies

“...with much wit and an alertness to how novels work, Making a Man cleverly fleshes out the complications of gentlemanly identity in the nineteenth-century novel.”


“In addition to offering clues to the problematic identity of the Victorian gentleman, Hyman documents convincingly how eating metaphors gave shape to epistemic worries about class, money and status.”

Dickens Quarterly

Gruel and truffles, wine and gin, opium and cocaine. Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel addresses the role of food, drink, and drugs in the conspicuously consuming nineteenth century in order to explore the question of what makes a man of a certain class in novels of the period. Gwen Hyman analyzes the rituals of dining room, drawing room, opium den, and cocaine lab, and the ways in which these alimentary behaviors make, unmake, and remake the gentlemanly body.

Making a Man makes use of food history and theory, literary criticism, anthropology, gender theory, economics, and social criticism to read gentlemanly consumers from Mr. Woodhouse, the gruel eater in Jane Austen’s Emma, through the vampire and the men who hunt in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In Anne Brontë’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Wilkie Collins’s Law and the Lady, Hyman contends, the gentleman is delineated and revealed through his cravings, his feasting and fasting. Hyman argues that appetite is a crucial means of casting light on the elusive identity of the gentleman, a figure who is the embodiment of power and yet is hardly embodied in Victorian literature.

Gwen Hyman is assistant professor of humanities at The Cooper Union in New York City, where she also directs the Center for Writing and Language Arts. Her work on food, literature, and culture has been published in Gastronomica and Victorian Literature and Culture, and she is the coauthor, with Andrew Carmellini, of Urban Italian: True Stories and Simple Recipes from a Life in Food.   More info →

Order a print copy

Paperback · $19.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $24.95 · Save 20% ($19.96)

Hardcover · $39.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $49.95 · Save 20% ($39.96)

Buy from a local bookstore


US and Canada only

Cover of Making a Man

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Related Subjects

Click or tap on a subject heading to sign up to be notified when new related books come out.


Retail price: $24.95, S.
Release date: April 2009
296 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $49.95, S.
Release date: April 2009
296 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Making a Man

”(I)n beguiling single-book readings of novels by writers from Austen to Bram Stoker, Hyman discusses abstemiousness, drunkenness, technologies of food preparation and storage, conspicuous consumption, drug addiction, and blood sucking.”

Studies in English Literature 1500–1900

“(Hyman’s) book should enjoy a long, useful shelf life.”

English Literature in Transition 1880–1920

Related Titles

Cover of 'The Cut of His Coat'

The Cut of His Coat
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860–1914
By Brent Shannon

The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.

Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh · Popular Culture · 19th century · United Kingdom · Victorian Studies

Cover of 'Come Buy, Come Buy'

Come Buy, Come Buy
Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women’s Writing
By Krista Lysack

From the 1860s through the early twentieth century, Great Britain saw the rise of the department store and the institutionalization of a gendered sphere of consumption.

Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh · Women’s Studies · Popular Culture · United Kingdom · Victorian Studies

Cover of 'Imperial Bibles, Domestic Bodies'

Imperial Bibles, Domestic Bodies
Women, Sexuality, and Religion in the Victorian Market
By Mary Wilson Carpenter

Of the many literary phenomena that sprang up in eighteenth-century England and later became a staple of Victorian culture, one that has received little attention until now is the “Family Bible with Notes.” Published in serial parts to make it affordable, the Family Bible was designed to enhance the family’s status and sense of national and imperial identity.Imperial

British Literature · Literary Criticism · Literature · Victorian Studies

Cover of 'Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture'

Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture
The Making of a Legend
Edited by Joseph Bristow

Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture: The Making of a Legend explores the meteoric rise, sudden fall, and legendary resurgence of an immensely influential writer’s reputation from his hectic 1881 American lecture tour to recent Hollywood adaptations of his dramas. Always renowned—if not notorious—for his fashionable persona, Wilde courted celebrity at an early age. Later, he came to prominence as one of the most talented essayists and fiction writers of his time.In

Literary Criticism · Victorian Studies · Literature · Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Sign up to be notified when new Victorian Studies titles come out.

We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.