Muscle Monarch

Victorian strongman Eugen Sandow was thought to possess the perfect male body. Like Oscar Wilde, he is essential to understanding modern manhood

David Waller

On the evening of Tuesday October 29, 1889, at around 10 o’clock, a young man wearing a monocle and evening suit jumped onto the stage of the Royal Aquarium Music Hall in Westminster. There was a moment of astonishment among the crowd, followed almost immediately by catcalls of derision, as the feeble-looking youngster with flaxen hair and girlish face declared in a voice barely audible against the hubbub, that he intended to prove himself the strongest man in the world.

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