‘Serafina’s got no drawers’ and nor does anyone else: The absence of undergarments in the Legman/Hugill chanteys | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 9 Number 2
  • ISSN: 2050-070X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0718

Abstract

This article investigates chanteys (sailing work songs) provided by chantey singer and collector Stan Hugill, contained within Gershon Legman’s unpublished manuscript of erotic folksong. Throughout, I attend to the spectre of underwear and how its absence signifies the loss of power both in terms of erotic action within the songs but also specifically in terms of cultural experiences, present on land, that divested the sailing man of masculine agency and authority. I read underwear as capturing the qualities of identified by Judith Bulter, and the erasure of such coverings, in these songs, forces these figures to haunt the margins of the text, ushering readings of other constraining and castrating realities that attended the sailor. Underwear is the object that stands in the way, binding up and symbolically castrating the male character, rendering him incapable of satisfying his heteronormative duties. Throughout the Victorian era, there were other cultural realities that ‘got in the way’ or impacted the sailor in his presentation of masculine self, and I contend that absent underwear captures such castrating potentials as the change in domestic space, the move from sail to steam power and also the impact of cultural narratives that sometimes barred sailors from gaining employment and meeting their breadwinning expectations.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/csmf_00061_1
2022-08-01
2024-02-22
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Agamben, Giorgio. ( 2011), Nudities (trans. D. Kishik and S. Pedatella), California, CA:: Stanford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Anthony, David. ( 2005;), ‘ “Gone distracted”: Sleepy Hollow, gothic masculinity, and the panic of 1819. ’, Early American Literature, 40:1, pp. 11144.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bak, John. ( 2005;),  ‘ A dying Gaul: The signifying phallus and Tennessee Williams’s Three Players of a Summer Game. ’, Mississippi Quarterly, 58:1, pp. 4173.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bayuk Rosenman, Ellen. ( 1996;), ‘ Spectacular women: The mysteries of London and the female body. ’, Victorian Studies, 40:1, pp. 3164.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Beavan, Brad. ( 2021;), ‘ “One of the toughest streets in the world”: Exploring male violence class, and ethnicity in London’s Sailortown, c. 1850–1880. ’, Social History, 46:1, pp. 121.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Begiato, Joanne. ( 2020), Manliness in Britain, 1760–1900: Bodies, Emotion, and Material Culture, Manchester:: Manchester University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bowditch, Lucy. ( 2001;), ‘ Public and private in light of lingerie. ’, Afterimage, 28:6, p. 6.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Burton, Valerie. ( 1991;), ‘ “The myth of Bachelor Jack”: Masculinity, patriarchy and seafaring labour. ’, in C. Howell, and R. Twomey. (eds), Jack Tar in History: Essays in the History of Maritime Life and Labour, Fredericton:: Acadiensis;, pp. 17998.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Burton, Valerie. ( 1999;), ‘ “Whoring, drinking sailors”: Reflections on masculinity from the labour history of nineteenth-century British shipping. ’, in M. Walsh. (ed.), Working Out Gender, London:: Routledge;, pp. 84101.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Burton, Valerie. ( 2002;), ‘ “As I wuz a-rolling down the highway one morn”: Fictions of the 19th century English Sailortown. ’, in B. Klein. (ed.), Fictions of the Sea: Critical Perspectives on the Ocean in British Literature and Culture, London:: Routledge;, pp. 14156.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Burton, Valerie. ( 2007;), ‘ A seafaring historian’s commentary on the “the body” as a useful category for working class history. ’, Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, 4:2: pp. 5559.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Chapman, Stanley, and Middleton-Smith, Jane. ( 2015;), ‘ John Smedley: The establishment of a tradition of fine knitwear (I), c. 1750–1874. ’, Textile History, 46:1, pp. 7098.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Clark, Anna. ( 1995), The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class, Berkeley, CA:: University of California Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Creighton, Margaret. ( 1991;), ‘ American mariners and the rites of manhood, 1830–1870. ’, in C. Howell, and R. Twomey. (eds), Jack Tar in History: Essays in the History of Maritime Life and Labour, Fredericton:: Acadiensis;, pp. 14363.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Cunnington, C. Willis, and Cunnington, Phillis. ( 1951), The History of Underclothes, London:: Michael Joseph;.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Cushman, Mitchell,, Phillips, JoAnne, and Wassersug, Richard. ( 2010;), ‘ The language of emasculation: Implications for cancer patients. ’, International Journal of Men’s Health, 9:1, pp. 325.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Derrida, Jacques. ( 1981), Dissemination (trans. B. Johnson), London:: The Athlone Press;, https://www.aaronvandyke.net/summer_readings/Derrida-Dissemination.pdf. Accessed 21 July 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Derrida, Jacques. ( 1993), Spectres of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning & the New International, New York:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Hawes, Clement. ( 1995;), ‘ Smart’s bawdy politic: Masculinity and the second age of horn in Jubilate Agno. ’, Criticism, 37:3, pp. 41342.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Hugill, Stan. ( 1961), Shanties from the Seven Seas: Shipboard Work-Songs and Songs Used as Work-Songs from the Great Days of Sail, Mystic, CT:: Mystic Seaport Museum;.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Kress, R. Lee. ( 1996;), ‘ Femininity, castration, and the phallus. ’, Literature and Psychology: A Journal of Psychoanalytic and Cultural Criticism, 42:3, pp. 114.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lakoff, Robin. ( 1975), Language and a Woman’s Place, New York:: Harper & Row;.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Legman, Gershon. (c. 1917), unpublished manuscript, Gershon Legman Collection, Kinsey Institute;.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Morrison, Heather. ( 2012;), ‘ Making degenerates into men by doing shots, breaking plates, embracing brothers in eighteenth-century freemasonry. ’, Journal of Social History, 46:1, pp. 4865.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Schreffler, Gibb. ( 2012;), ‘ Twentieth-century editors and the re-visioning of chanties: A case study of “Lowlands”. ’, in Mystic Seaport Symposium on Music of the Sea, UConn Avery Point, CT, 8 June, pp. 114.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Schreffler, Gibb. ( 2018), Boxing the Compass: A Century and a Half of Discourse about Sailor’s Chanties, Landsdale:: Loomis House Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Schwartz, Bernard J.. ( 1955;), ‘ The measurement of castration anxiety and anxiety over loss of love. ’, Journal of Personality, 24:2, pp. 20419.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Stephanson, Raymond. ( 2004), The Yard of Wit: Male Creativity and Sexuality, 1650–1750, Philadelphia, PA:: University of Pennsylvania Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Storr, Merl. ( 2002;), ‘ Classy lingerie. ’, Feminist Review, 71:1, pp. 1836.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Terry, Richard Runciman. ( 2008), The Way of the Ship: Sailors, Shanties and Shantymen, Tucson, AZ:: Fireship Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Turbin, Carole. ( 2003;), ‘ Refashioning the concept of public/private: Lessons from dress studies. ’, Journal of Women’s History, 15:1, pp. 4351.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Whall, William Boutlbee. ( 1986), Sea Songs and Shanties, Glasgow:: Brown, Son & Ferguson;.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Workman, Nancy V.. ( 1996;), ‘ From Victorian to Victoria’s Secret: The foundations of modern erotic wear. ’, Journal of Popular Culture, 30:2, pp. 6173.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Floyd, Jessica. ( 2022;), ‘ “Serafina’s got no drawers” and nor does anyone else: The absence of undergarments in the Legman/Hugill chanteys. ’, Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, 9:2, pp. 22340, https://doi.org/10.1386/csmf_00061_1
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/csmf_00061_1
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error