‘From Your Ever Anxious and Loving Father’: Faith, Fatherhood, and Masculinity in One Man’s Letters to His Son during the First World War.

Robb, Martin (2020). ‘From Your Ever Anxious and Loving Father’: Faith, Fatherhood, and Masculinity in One Man’s Letters to His Son during the First World War. Genealogy, 4(1), article no. 32.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010032

URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2313-5778/4/1/32

Abstract

In the early months of 1916, Charles Robb a retired shipping clerk in the East End of London, England, wrote a series of letters to his 19-year-old son Arthur, an army private awaiting embarkation to the Western Front. Charles Robb was my great grandfather and Arthur Robb was my grandfather. The letters offer an intriguing glimpse of one man ‘doing’ fatherhood under conditions of traumatic separation and extreme anxiety. This paper presents an analysis of the letters from a psychosocial perspective, exploring the ways in which the writer exhorts his son to live up to the ideals of Christian manhood, while managing the anxiety of separation by presenting a reconstruction in language of the familiar world of home and church.

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