Book Launch: 'Restless Men: Masculinity and Robinson Crusoe, 1788-1840' by Dr Karen Downing

Restless Men: Masculinity and Robinson Crusoe, 1788-1840
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
By Dr Karen Downing

Book to be launched by Professor Penny Russell, Bicentennial Professor of Australian History, The University of Sydney

Friday 10 October 2014, 5.00pm for 5.30pm

Refreshments will follow the launch

Tea Room, Coombs Building #9, Fellows Road, Australian National University

Around the turn of the nineteenth century Robinson Crusoe turns up remarkably often in material dealing with the emerging Australian colonies. The call to adventure and do-it-yourself guide to settlement in Daniel Defoe’s novel resonated strongly with British explorers and settlers. But Crusoe did not make men restless: restlessness was the expression of unresolved tensions in men’s lives between ideals, aspirations, traditions and material circumstances, the tension between what men felt they should do and what was actually possible. Crusoe seemingly reconciled these tensions, showing that a man could be both wild and domesticated. Karen Downing traces the links in a discursive chain by which a particular male subjectivity was forged. Through the rarely studied interrelationship between public representations of manliness and self-representations by men in more private writings, she reveals how restless men took their restlessness with them, so that the Australian colonies never were a solution to men’s anxieties.

RSVP for catering purposes
Katy Wilson by 8 October 2014 or 6125 7050



Date & time

Fri 10 Oct 2014, 5–7.30pm


Tea Room, Coombs Building #9, Fellows Rd, ANU


School of History


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