In turn-of-the-century America, cultural ideals of manhood changed profoundly, as Victorian notions of self-restrained, moral manliness were challenged by ideals of an aggressive, overtly sexualized masculinity. Bederman traces this shift in values and shows how it brought together two seemingly contradictory ideals: the unfettered virility of racially "primitive" men and the refined superiority of "civilized" white men. Focusing on the lives and works of four very different Americans—Theodore Roosevelt, educator G. Stanley Hall, Ida B. Wells, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman—she illuminates the ideological, cultural, and social interests these ideals came to serve.
Greenfield has succeeded to a remarkable degree in reaching his goals. An early reviewer of the manuscript, Daniel G. Calder of UCLA, wrote: “I find it the best translation of Beowulf.
One of the great problems with other translations is that they make the reading of Beowulf difficult. Greenfield’s translation speeds along with considerable ease. . . Scholars will find the translation fascinating as an exercise in the successful recreating of various aspects of Old English poetic style.”