The Thinking 

On Manly Honor

January 18, 2013


DANIEL S. writes:

Brett McKay of The Art of Manliness website has written several worthwhile columns exploring the history of the idea and importance of manly honor, a concept much lacking among the majorty of postmodern males in the West. He starts:

Across cultures and time, honor and manliness have been inextricably tied together. In many cases, they were synonymous. Honor lost was manhood lost. Because honor was such a central aspect of a man’s masculine identity, men would go to great lengths to win honor and prevent its loss.

If we take even a cursory look at history, honor pops up over and over again as a central theme in literature and life. The epic poems of Homer are primarily about honor and man’s quest to achieve and maintain it. If you read Shakespeare’s plays with a close eye, you’ll find that honor and manhood take center stage as reoccurring themes. During the 17th and all the way into the early 20th century, upperclass men in Europe and the United States regularly engaged in duels on “fields of honor” to defend their manhood. When signing the Declaration of Independence, the American Founding Fathers “mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

But what exactly is honor?

The entire series seeks to answer exactly that question through the history and tradition of the West. McKay also explains why manly honor is needed for men today and how they might revive and reinvigorate the notion of honor. Here are the links:

Manly Honor: Part I — What Is Honor?

Manly Honor: Part II — The Decline of Traditonal Honor in the West, Ancient Greece to the Romantic Period

Manly Honor: Part III — The Victorian Era and the Development of the Stoic-Christian Code of Honor

Manly Honor Part IV — The Gentlemen and the Roughs: The Collision of Two Honor Codes in the American North

Manly Honor Part V: Honor in the American South

Manly Honor VI: The Decline of Traditional Honor in the West in the 20th Century

Manly Honor VII: How and Why to Revive Manly Honor in the Twenty-First Century

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