REVIEWS sexuality in this book, Godbeer simply defers to the reader and coyly states, ``One cannot help but wonder.'' By arguing so strongly that sexuality was not a relevant component of such relationships, Godbeer has missed an opportunity to create a more complicated and expansive framework for intimate relationships. By focusing on emotional longing and taking an analytical sidestep around the existence of sexual desire, Godbeer creates a ``break'' between the two, an overcorrective that leaves the most exciting possible analysis--an advanced and expansive study of the range and depths of male emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy--unexplored. How did physical intimacy function to strengthen or intensify emotional bonds? When did physical intimacy develop into sexual intimacy, and did that transition mark a point of no return for those involved? By situating men's emotional experiences within the comparably loving and asexual paradigm of women's romantic friendships in the nineteenth century, Godbeer adapts one of the oldest conceptual frameworks from the field of women's history and uses it to dig deeper into the meaning of men's relationships. In this respect, Godbeer contributes to a new wave of scholarship that incorporates feelings, friendship, and fraternal bonds into the histories of men's
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Apr 28, 2010
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