The Aesthete, the Hedonist, the Imperialist and the Dandy: The Construction of Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle in Vernon Lee’s “Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady” and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

  • Caitlin Ehman


The construction of masculinity at the fin de siècle in England is examined through a close reading of the male characters in  Vernon Lee's "Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady" and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.  With the New Woman and the decadent male aesthete confusing the previously strictly-defined gender dichotomy, the authors' negotiations of gender roles took on a vitally didactic element.  When the end of the world seemed to be appearing on the horizon, both Lee and Barrie drew their contradictory lines in the sand about aestheticism, Imperialism and masculinity.