Mahmut TERCI, The Gentleman and the British Cultural Space

Abstract: This article investigates the concept of the gentleman in the English culture considering its historical, sociological, philosophical and literary development. The term ‘gentleman’ has been used in British culture by an enormous number of people  loading varied meanings to the concept. The idea of the ‘gentleman’ has attracted many historians, philosophers, religious figures and writers. A number of questions may be asked. Who are or were called the gentlemen in the past and in the present? What qualities are required for a gentlemanly behavior? How does a historian, a philosopher, a social scientist, a religious figure, or a writer, define the term gentleman? The general considerations about the concept of the gentleman have definitely changed throughout the ages and the subjective impressions have made it much more complicated to pinpoint its exact definition. While critics who wrote about the English gentleman, such as Philip Mason and Robin Gilmour think that the idea of the gentleman rose in the nineteenth century and it has lost its influence and prestige in the modern and post-modern age and has become an old-fashioned term used in specific places or cases for specific people. Some other critics, such as Cristina Berberich and Shirley Robin Letwin, believe that the morality of the gentleman will never lose its importance not even in the post-modern society. According to our own considerations, the more we understand the qualities that make people true gentlemen, the more people understand and respect one another. Nevertheless, these varied views should be considered and a closer look is needed to have a complete portrait of the ‘gentleman’.

Key words: gentleman, English gentleman, gentleman of birth, gentleman of wealth, gentleman of manners, true gentleman, fake gentleman, gentry, gentility, British nobility, class, culture, gender 

To cite the article: TERCI, Mahmut. “The Gentleman and the British Cultural Space.” International Journal of Cross-Cultural Studies and Environmental Communication 2.1 (2013): 43-55. Print.

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