Men can be alpha widows according to Henry James

In the ongoing annals of actually reading literature written before the 1960s that wasn’t listed on Mencius Moldbug’s website, I’ve been idling a bit with Henry James and one of his little quirks is the tale of the male alpha widow.

In a number of his tales, a man essentially alpha widows himself by becoming obsessed with an idealized younger him, while dragging a friendzoned lady friend along for a lifelong ride, ending with him being real sad that he wasted her life but not quite as sad as he is at the self-image that got away.

It’s very amusing to me that this is not terribly different from the manosphere and increasingly mainstream right-wing idea of the female “alpha widow” who ruins a marriage pining for the younger version of herself that dated a hot dude once, but the concept is presented as some sort of uniquely female thing despite not being gender or sex-bound at all.

Maybe someday some of these “realists” will come up with, well, realistic ideas of sex, gender and race.  Probably not anytime soon though, since it would involve reading books beyond easily found online excerpts.


2 thoughts on “Men can be alpha widows according to Henry James

  1. Love it! Great observation…

    I linked to you in one of my posts the other day because I wanted your take in helping me answer a comment from a feminist who wandered onto my site. If you have a moment, the post is titled Value of the Domestic Arts. The comment was connected to my post We need More Appreciation of the Feminine. You always have a good historical view of things and make me think…….


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