How do we survive our family, stay bound to our community, and keep from losing ourselves? In All That Work and Still No Boys, Kathryn Ma exposes the deepest fears and longings that we mask in family life and observes the long shadows cast by history and displacement.
Here are ten stories that wound and satisfy in equal measure. Ma probes the immigrant experience, most particularly among northern California’s Chinese Americans, illuminating for us the confounding nature of duty, transformation, and loss. A boy exposed to racial hatred finds out the true difference between his mother and his father. Two old rivals briefly lay down their weapons, but loneliness and despair won’t let them forget the past. A young Beijing tour guide with a terrible family secret must take an adopted Chinese girl and her American family to visit an orphanage. And in the prize-winning title story, a mother refuses to let her son save her life, insisting instead on a sacrifice by her daughter.
Intimate in detail and universal in theme, these stories give us the compelling voice of an exciting new author whose intelligence, insight, and wit impart a sense of grace to the bitter resentments and enduring ties that comprise family love. Even through the tensions Ma creates so deftly, the peace and security that come from building and belonging to one’s own community shine forth.
With the publication of Boys and Girls in 1984, Vivian Gussin Paley took readers inside a kindergarten classroom to show them how boys and girls play—and how, by playing and fantasizing in different ways, they work through complicated notions of gender roles and identity. The children’s own conversations, stories, playacting, and scuffles are interwoven with Paley’s observations and accounts of her vain attempts to alter their stereotyped play. Thirty years later, the superheroes and princesses are still here, but their doll corners and block areas are fast disappearing from our kindergartens. This new edition of Paley’s classic book reignites issues that are more important than ever for a new generation of students, parents, and teachers.
"Paley has a sharp ear for the rhythm and inflections of childhood. Her vignettes give us a revealing glimpse into children's inner lives, and her discussion of her own discomfort with boy's play and approval of that of girls raises and important issue."—Carole Wade, Psychology Today
"I will admit my biases up front: having a three-year old daughter of my own made it impossible for this book to be anything but fun to read. I dare anyone who enjoys children not to enjoy this story about stories, this narrative about narratives."—Jerry Powell, Winterthur Portfolio
In this groundbreaking book, Ken Parille seeks to do for nineteenth-century boys what the past three decades of scholarship have done for girls: show how the complexities of the fiction and educational materials written about them reflect the lives they lived. While most studies of nineteenth-century boyhood have focused on post-Civil War male novelists, Parille explores a broader archive of writings by male and female authors, extending from 1830-1885.
Boys at Home offers a series of arguments about five pedagogical modes: play-adventure, corporal punishment, sympathy, shame, and reading. The first chapter demonstrates that, rather than encouraging boys to escape the bonds of domesticity, scenes of play in boys’ novels reproduce values associated with the home. Chapter 2 argues that debates about corporal punishment are crucial sources for the culture’s ideas about gender difference and pedagogical practice. In chapter 3, “The Medicine of Sympathy,” Parille examines the affective nature of mother-daughter and mother-son bonds, emphasizing the special difficulties that “boy-nature” posed for women. The fourth chapter uses boys’ conduct literature and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – the preeminent chronicle of girlhood in the century – to investigate not only Alcott’s fictional representations of shame-centered discipline but also pervasive cultural narratives about what it means to “be a man.” Focusing on works by Lydia Sigourney and Francis Forrester, the final chapter considers arguments about the effects that fictional, historical, and biographical narratives had on a boy’s sense of himself and his masculinity.
Boys at Home is an important contribution to the emerging field of masculinity studies. In addition, this provocative volume brings new insight to the study of childhood, women’s writing, and American culture.
Ken Parille is assistant professor of English at East Carolina University. His articles have appeared in Children’s Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Papers on Language and Literature, and Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.
Ed McBain is a master of tone. He turns his material just a little off-axis. George Dove’s study of McBain’s imaginary city is both insightful and realistic. He gets at the heart of this major writer of police procedurals by examining the geography, the day-to-day happenings, and literary quality.
Set in the days of small, local banks when embarrassing entrepreneurs were the one family in town who bought a new car every year—those cars everyone else called ‘gunboats—and the bad guys came with black hats, this rollicking send-up of stupid criminals who even Barnie Fife could have outwitted makes for belly-laughs while reading and memories that will bring smiles to readers’ faces.
"An immensely valuable and substantial addition to 10th Mountain literature and to the history of skiing in the United States."
- International Ski History Association
The Boys of Winter tells the true story of three young American ski champions and their brutal, heroic, and fateful transformation from athletes to infantrymen with the 10th Mountain Division. Charles J. Sanders's fast-paced narrative draws on dozens of interviews and extensive research to trace these boys' lives from childhood to championships and from training at Mount Rainier and in the Colorado Rockies to battles against the Nazis.
In this creative memoir, Homer McCarty adopts the voice of seven-year-old Buck to recollect his own life growing up in rugged southern Utah Territory in the late 1800s. Although Buck’s reflections are necessarily imprecise—gathered from fragments of memory and then embellished freely—the stories he tells are an honest look at life on the frontier.
In the spirit of Huck Finn, Buck embarks on adventures and mischief with his loyal friend, Earl. Naïve, eager, and inquisitive, he seeks to make sense of his world. McCarty’s portrayal of the period is often humorous, capturing the intimacy of place and family through a young boy’s eyes.
McCarty completed this work in 1948. Had it not been for a series of fortuitous events and the dedication of his granddaughters, including Coralie Beyers, these pages would have been lost. Thanks to her efforts, her grandfather’s lively, entertaining book is now available for readers to relish and enjoy.
The Great Depression of the 1930s had a devastating impact on sparsely populated Nevada and its two major industries, mining and agriculture. Luckily, thanks to Nevada’s powerful Senate delegation, Roosevelt’s New Deal funding flowed abundantly into the state. Among the programs thus supported was the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal program intended to provide jobs for unemployed young men and a pool of labor for essential public lands rehabilitation projects. In all, nearly thirty-one thousand men were employed in fifty-nine CCC camps across Nevada, most of them from outside the state. These “boys,” as they were called, went to work improving the state’s forests, parks, wildlife habitats, roads, fences, irrigation systems, flood-control systems, and rangelands, while learning valuable skills on the job. Rural communities near CCC camps reaped additional benefits when local men were hired as foremen and when the camps purchased supplies from local merchants.
The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada is the first comprehensive history of the Nevada CCC, a program designed to help the nation get back on its feet, and of the “boys” who did so much to restore Nevada’s lands and resources. The book is based on extensive research in private manuscript collections, unpublished memoirs, CCC inspectors’ reports, and other records. The book also includes period photographs depicting the Nevada CCC and its activities.
Detectives are investigating the death of Dahlia Winter's husband and also looking into the mysterious deaths of young boys who are imported for labor in a future-time San Francisco. Citing the plots of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Terminator 2, and Blade Runner as proof that our sense of inner and outer is tied to rebellion and slavery, the novel appears at first to be a detail of these films all at once, like a colonization of them from the inside. But almost immediately the plot assumes its own life. Based on a conception of the Tibetan written form called Secret Autobiography--which is not the chronological events or actions of a life, but an individual's seeing outside any frames--the novel makes a time-space in which sensation, actions, and thought-memory are occurring alongside our present-day space.
Fort Da: A Report
Elisabeth Sheffield University of Alabama Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3619.H4515F67 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
A psychological and linguistic exploration of obsession and illicit love.
While working at a sleep lab in northern Germany, Rosemarie Ramee, a 38-year-old American neurologist, falls in love with Aslan, an eleven-year-old Turkish Cypriot. To get closer to the boy, RR undertakes a "marriage of convenience" to the boy's uncle. But when the uncle suddenly disappears, Ramee, alone with Aslan, must take the boy to his relatives in northern Cyprus. A train journey ensues, chronicled in RR's psychological reports and neurological inquiries.
But what begins as an objective "report" breaks down as the story progresses: RR's voice, hitherto suppressed and analytical, emerges hesitantly and then erupts, splintering every conception of inner and outer lives, solipsistic reality, and the irrevocable past. Consistently surprising and unrelenting, Fort Da turns one woman's illicit affair into a riveting exploration of language and the mind.
Friend of Kissinger: A Novel
David Milofsky University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3563.I444F75 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In this lively coming-of-age novel, young Danny Meyer lays bare a landscape of illness and despair but emerges triumphant, with a new awareness of the limitations of security and the lessons of eternity. Danny’s bubble-like existence in paradisal Madison is broken when his father, a concert pianist and professor, is stricken with illness and must give up his professorship. The family is forced to move to Milwaukee to live at the brink of poverty while his father gets sicker, his artistic mother struggles as bread-winner, and his brother becomes delusional. Here, Danny finds himself in the uncertain position of having to accept the responsibilities of manhood while still struggling with adolescence.
In a world that keeps shifting, Danny befriends the son of a gangster and, through his brushes with that compelling world of crime, finds his way to a new confidence. Realistically portrayed, A Friend of Kissinger, captures an authentic sense of place that is one part arty, heartland Main Street and one part shady, small-time gangsterland.
You see it in every schoolyard: the girls play only with the girls, the boys play only with the boys. Why? And what do the kids think about this? Breaking with familiar conventions for thinking about children and gender, Gender Play develops fresh insights into the everyday social worlds of kids in elementary schools in the United States. Barrie Thorne draws on her daily observations in the classroom and on the playground to show how children construct and experience gender in school. With rich detail,she looks at the "play of gender" in the organization of groups of kids and activities - activities such as "chase-and-kiss," "cooties," "goin' with" and teasing.
Thorne observes children in schools in working-class communities, emphasizing the experiences of fourth and fifth graders. Most of the children she observed were white, but a sizable minority were Latino, Chicano, or African American. Thorne argues that the organization and meaning of gender are influenced by age, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and social class, and that they shift with social context. She sees gender identity not through the lens of individual socialization or difference, but rather as a social process involving groups of children. Thorne takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery, provides new insights about children, and offers teachers practical suggestions for increasing cooperative mixed-gender interaction.
During much of the twentieth century, people labeled “feeble-minded,” “mentally deficient,” and “mentally retarded” were often confined in large, publicly funded, residential institutions located on the edges of small towns and villages some distance from major population centers. At the peak of their development in the late 1960s, these institutions—frequently called “schools” or “homes”—housed 190,000 men, women, and children in the United States. The Girls and Boys of Belchertown offers the first detailed history of an American public institution for intellectually disabled persons. Robert Hornick recounts the story of the Belchertown State School in Belchertown, Massachusetts, from its beginnings in the 1920s to its closure in the 1990s following a scandalous exposé and unprecedented court case that put the institution under direct supervision of a federal judge. He draws on personal interviews, private letters, and other unpublished sources as well as local newspapers, long out-of-print materials, and government reports to re-create what it was like to live and work at the school. More broadly, he gauges the impact of changing social attitudes toward intellectual disability and examines the relationship that developed over time between the school and the town where it was located. What emerges is a candid and complex portrait of the Belchertown State School that neither vilifies those in charge nor excuses the injustices perpetrated on its residents, but makes clear that despite the court-ordered reforms of its final decades, the institution needed to be closed.
Hints of His Mortality
David Borofka University of Iowa Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3552.O75443H56 1996 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The award-winning stories in David Borofka's Hints of His Mortality focus on the male of the species, on bewildered, guilt-ridden, hypersensitive characters adrift in a sea of changing roles and expectations. Although they yearn for the ideal—whether physical or spiritual—and for that sense of divine connection suggested by Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality, they usually end up settling for what seems the next best thing: sex or religion.
The amorous scrimmage between male and female in these taut, intense stories is a contest that leaves no one unmarked. The hapless ministers in Borofka's memorable collection find that their daily grind of professional piety leaves them with more questions than answers. The men and boys in Hints of His Mortality are always aware of their flaws, for Borofka's vital characters have the capacity to register the shadows of their every blemish. Like Ferguson of the title story, haunted for twenty years by his failures of conscience, each protagonist experiences the inexorable fallibility of his own nature, agonizes over his moral weakness, and longs for escape from this life in which “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting." Yet each is redeemed by his ongoing struggle for compassion and understanding.
Jobs for the Boys
Merilee S. Grindle Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress JF1651.G75 2012 | Dewey Decimal 324.204
Patronage systems in public service are reviled as undemocratic and corrupt. Yet patronage was the prevailing method of staffing government for centuries, and in some countries it still is. Grindle considers why patronage has been ubiquitous in history and explores the processes through which it is replaced by merit-based civil service systems.
Female-to-male crossdressing became all the rage in the variety shows of nineteenth century America, and began as the domain of mature actresses who desired to extend their careers. These women engaged in the kinds of raucous comedy acts usually reserved for men. Over time, as younger women entered the specialty, the comedy became less pointed, and came to center on the celebration of male leisure and fashion. Gillian M. Rodger uses the development of male impersonation from 1820 to 1920 to illuminate the history of the variety show. Exploding notions of high- and lowbrow entertainment, Rodger looks at how both performers and forms consistently expanded upward toward respectable ”and richer ”audiences. At the same time, she illuminates a lost theatrical world where women made fun of middle class restrictions even as they bumped up against rules imposed in part by audiences. Onstage, the actresses' changing performance styles reflected gender construction in the working class and shifts in class affiliation by parts of the audiences. Rodger observes how restrictive standards of femininity increasingly bound male impersonators as new gender constructions allowed women greater access to public space while tolerating less independent behavior from them.
Words from the Wisconsin boys manning the trenches.
On the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the flood of American troops in Europe that would shift the tide of World War I in favor of the Allies, Letters from the Boys brings to life this terrible war as experienced by Wisconsinites writing home.
Technology had transformed the battlefield in alarming ways. Automatic rifles mowed down the young men who went “over the top” to attack enemy trenches; airplanes and improved artillery brought death unseen from miles away; terrifying clouds of poison gas choked and burned the European countryside; the internal combustion engine brought tanks to the battlefield for the first time and revolutionized the way troops deployed.
In the thick of it were young men from Wisconsin who found themselves caught up in geopolitical events half a world away. Professor Carrie A. Meyer combed through three newspapers in Green County, Wisconsin, to collect and synthesize the letters from the boys into a narrative that is both unique and representative, telling the stories of several Green County boys and what they saw, from preparing for war, to life among French families near the front, to the terror of the battlefield. Meyer gracefully removes the veil of obscurity and anonymity hanging over soldiers who participated in a war fought so long ago by great numbers of men, reminding us that armies are made of individuals who strove to do their part and then return to their families.
For the middle class and the affluent, local ties seem to matter less and less these days, but in the inner city, your life can be irrevocably shaped by what block you live on. Living the Drama takes a close look at three neighborhoods in Boston to analyze the many complex ways that the context of community shapes the daily lives and long-term prospects of inner-city boys.
David J. Harding studied sixty adolescent boys growing up in two very poor areas and one working-class area. In the first two, violence and neighborhood identification are inextricably linked as rivalries divide the city into spaces safe, neutral, or dangerous. Consequently, Harding discovers, social relationships are determined by residential space. Older boys who can navigate the dangers of the streets serve as role models, and friendships between peers grow out of mutual protection. The impact of community goes beyond the realm of same-sex bonding, Harding reveals, affecting the boys’ experiences in school and with the opposite sex. A unique glimpse into the world of urban adolescent boys, Living the Drama paints a detailed, insightful portrait of life in the inner city.
Lowest White Boy
Greg Bottoms West Virginia University Press, 2019 Library of Congress F234.H23B67 2019 | Dewey Decimal 305.800975541209
An innovative, hybrid work of literary nonfiction, Lowest White Boy takes its title from Lyndon Johnson’s observation during the civil rights era: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket.”
Greg Bottoms writes about growing up white and working class in Tidewater, Virginia, during school desegregation in the 1970s. He offers brief stories that accumulate to reveal the everyday experience of living inside complex, systematic racism that is often invisible to economically and politically disenfranchised white southerners—people who have benefitted from racism in material ways while being damaged by it, he suggests, psychologically and spiritually. Placing personal memories against a backdrop of documentary photography, social history, and cultural critique, Lowest White Boy explores normalized racial animus and reactionary white identity politics, particularly as these are collected and processed in the mind of a child.
The Lucky: (A Novel)
H. Lee Barnes University of Nevada Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3552.A673854L83 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Unfolding from the bygone era of 1950s Las Vegas through the turbulent decades that followed, this epic novel examines the universal search for identity and reward in a world where the good life always seems out of reach. The streets of early Las Vegas are a tough place for a boy to grow up. Pete Elkins is fatherless, living in a cramped apartment with his mother, a party-girl with a penchant for falling in love with the wrong kind of man; and his older sister, who has grown up too fast from trying to parent both her brother and their reckless mother. Pete is headed for serious trouble when he is befriended by Willy Bobbins, a casino owner with a murky past and even murkier business practices. But Willy is also deeply compassionate and wise, and he soon becomes a surrogate father for the lonely Pete. Gradually, Pete becomes involved with Willy’s troubled family and comes to know both the scope of his mentor’s power and the depth of his vulnerabilities.
Will boys be boys? What are little boys made of? Kenneth B. Kidd responds to these familiar questions with a thorough review of boy culture in America since the late nineteenth century. From the "boy work" promoted by character-building organizations such as Scouting and 4-H to current therapeutic and pop psychological obsessions with children's self-esteem, Kidd presents the great variety of cultural influences on the changing notion of boyhood. Analyzing icons of boyhood and maleness from Huck Finn and The Jungle Book's Mowgli to Father Flanagan's Boys Town and even Michael Jackson, Kidd surveys films, psychoanalytic case studies, parenting manuals, historical accounts of the discoveries of "wolf-boys," and self-help books to provide a rigorous history of what it has meant to be an all-American boy.
Names Above Houses
Oliver de la Paz Southern Illinois University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3554.E114N36 2001 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
In Names above Houses, Oliver de la Pazuses both prose and verse poems to create the magical realm of Fidelito Recto—a boy who wants to fly—and his family of Filipino immigrants. Fidelito’s mother, Maria Elena, tries to keep her son grounded while struggling with her own moorings. Meanwhile, Domingo, Fidelito's fisherman father, is always at sea, even when among them. From the archipelago of the Philippines to San Francisco, horizontal and vertical movements shape moments of displacement and belonging for this marginalized family. Fidelito approaches life with a sense of wonder, finding magic in the mundane and becoming increasingly uncertain whether he is in the sky or whether his feet are planted firmly on the ground.
In a timely contribution to current debates over the psychology of boys and the construction of their social lives, On My Honor explores the folk customs of adolescent males in the Boy Scouts of America during a summer encampment in California's Sierra Nevada. Drawing on more than twenty years of research and extensive visits and interviews with members of the troop, Mechling uncovers the key rituals and play events through which the Boy Scouts shapes boys into men. He describes the campfire songs, initiation rites, games, and activities that are used to mold the Scouts into responsible adults.
The themes of honor and character alternate in this new study as we witness troop leaders offering examples in structure, discipline, and guidance, and teaching scouts the difficult balance between freedom and self-control. What results is a probing look into the inner lives of boys in our culture and their rocky transition into manhood. On My Honor provides a provocative, sometimes shocking glimpse into the sexual awakening and moral development of young men coming to grips with their nascent desires, their innate aggressions, their inclination toward peer pressure and violence, and their social acculturation.
On My Honor ultimately shows how the Boy Scouts of America continues to edify and mentor young men against the backdrop of controversies over freedom of religious expression, homosexuality, and the proposed inclusion of female members. While the organization's bureaucracy has taken an unyielding stance against gay men and atheists, real live Scouts are often more open to plurality than we might assume. In their embrace of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding, troop leaders at the local level have the power to shape boys into emotionally mature men.
Winner of the 2005 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Book Award and Winner of the 2006 Elliot Liebow Award
What can neighborhood baseball tell us about class and gender cultures, urban change, and the ways that communities value public space? Through a close exploration of a boys’ baseball league in a gentrifying neighborhood of Philadelphia, sociologist Sherri Grasmuck reveals the accommodations and tensions that characterize multicultural encounters in contemporary American public life. Based on years of ethnographic observation and interviews with children, parents, and coaches, Protecting Home offers an analysis of the factors that account for racial accommodation in a space that was previously known for racial conflict and exclusion. Grasmuck argues that the institutional arrangements and social characteristics of children’s baseball create a cooperative environment for the negotiation of social, cultural, and class differences.
Chapters explore coaching styles, parental involvement, institutional politics, parent-child relations, and children’s experiences. Grasmuck identifies differences in the ways that the mostly white, working-class “old-timers” and the racially diverse, professional newcomers relate to the neighborhood. These distinctions reflect a competing sense of cultural values related to individual responsibility toward public space, group solidarity, appropriate masculine identities, and how best to promote children’s interests—a contrast between “hierarchical communalism” and “child-centered individualism.”
Through an innovative combination of narrative approaches, this book succeeds both in capturing the immediacy of boys’ interaction at the playing field and in contributing to sophisticated theoretical debates in urban studies, the sociology of childhood, and masculinity studies.
An intricate text filled to the brim with connotations of desire, home, and childhood—nests, food, beds, birds, fairies, bits of string, ribbon, goodnight kisses, appetites sated and denied—Reading Boyishly is a story of mothers and sons, loss and longing, writing and photography. In this homage to four boyish men and one boy—J. M. Barrie, Roland Barthes, Marcel Proust, D. W. Winnicott, and the young photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue—Carol Mavor embraces what some have anxiously labeled an over-attachment to the mother. Here, the maternal is a cord (unsevered) to the night-light of boyish reading.
To “read boyishly” is to covet the mother’s body as a home both lost and never lost, to desire her as only a son can, as only a body that longs for, but will never become Mother, can. Nostalgia (from the Greek nostos = return to native land, and algos = suffering or grief) is at the heart of the labor of boyish reading, which suffers in its love affair with the mother. The writers and the photographer that Mavor lovingly considers are boyish readers par excellence: Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up; Barthes, the “professor of desire” who lived with or near his mother until her death; Proust, the modernist master of nostalgia; Winnicott, therapist to “good enough” mothers; and Lartigue, the child photographer whose images invoke ghostlike memories of a past that is at once comforting and painful.
Drawing attention to the interplay between writing and vision, Reading Boyishly is stuffed full with more than 200 images. At once delicate and powerful, the book is a meditation on the threads that unite mothers and sons and on the writers and artists who create from those threads art that captures an irretrievable past.
This Day in History
Anthony Varallo University of Iowa Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3622.A725T48 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
On the verge of maturity--where parents are distant or absent, friendships are often more accidental than deliberate, and restless angst is common--Anthony Varallo's adolescent protagonists dissect the world, and their place in it, with keen perception. This Day in History deftly collects their moments of discovery. “There's a feeling I get whenever I enter an unfamiliar house, as if a secret inventory has been handed to me, and I am made to understand that the sofa cushions are stained underneath, the coffee table nursing one gimp leg, the books along the bookcase stolen from summer rental, and the dining room table used only for Christmas and taxes,” the narrator confesses in the first of Varallo's twelve stories. Here, a birthday party for an unpopular classmate reveals an adult world both familiar and utterly strange. In subsequent stories a young girl longs to be a part of her best friend's family, only to discover the family is less than ideal; two sisters recall the childhood houses they grew up--and apart--in, places inseparable from each woman's notion of the other; and a mother and son set off on a bold and hopeless errand, their suburban neighborhood momentarily transformed into a stage.As these children stand on the brink of adulthood, unsure how to move forward, striving to make sense of the world around them, they often discover that the distance between themselves and others is no nearly so great as first imagined. Funny, sad, and hopeful, Varallo's stories make a gentle argument for connection and community and, in doing so, seek to extend our sympathy toward the world.
During the first half of the twentieth century military victory parades in New York became an iconic part of the American cultural memory—ticker tape and soldiers returning to their sweethearts symbolized the joy of a nation at peace. In this incisive new study, Sebastian Jobs approaches these events as political street theater. Focusing on organizers, spectators, and soldiers, Jobs explores each group’s participation in the action, as well as the ways in which they interacted with each another. This book also demonstrates how abstract concepts, like the nation-state, were embodied in these events, and how these political performances made an impact on American culture and society.
Who Wrote the Book of Love?
Lee Siegel University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3569.I377W48 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Who Wrote the Book of Love? is acclaimed novelist Lee Siegel's comedic chronicle of the sexual life of an American boy in Southern California in the 1950s. Starting at the beginning of the decade, in the year that Stalin announced that the Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb, the book opens with a child's first memory of himself. Closing at the end of the decade, when Pat Boone's guide to dating, 'Twixt Twelve and Twenty, topped the bestseller list, the book culminates just moments before the boy experiences for the first time what he had learned from a book read to him by his mother was called "coitus or sexual intercourse or sometimes, less formally, just making love." Between the initial overwhelmingly erotic recollection and the final climactic moment, all is sex—beguiling and intractable, naughty and sweet. Who Wrote the Book of Love? is about the subversive sexual imaginations of children. And, as such, it is about the origins of love.
Vignettes from the author's childhood provide the material for the construction of what is at once comic fiction, imaginative historical reportage, and an ironically nostalgic confession. The book evokes the tone and tempo of a decade during which America was blatantly happy, wholesome, and confident, and yet, at the same time, deeply fearful of communism and nuclear holocaust. Siegel recounts both the cheer and the paranoia of the period and the ways in which those sentiments informed wondering about sex and falling in love.
"Part of my plan," Mark Twain wrote in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, "has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked." With the same motive, Lee Siegel has written what Twain might have composed had he been Jewish, raised in Beverly Hills in the 1950s, and joyously obsessed with sex and love.
What are boys like? Who is the creature inhabiting the twilight zone between the perils of the Oedipus complex and the Strum und Drang of puberty? In With the Boys, Gary Alan Fine examines the American male preadolescent by studying the world of Little League baseball. Drawings on three years of firsthand observation of five Little Leagues, Fine describes how, through organized sport and its accompanying activities, boys learn to play, work, and generally be "men."
Despite its centuries-long tradition of literary and artistic depictions of love between men, around the fin de siècle Japanese culture began to portray same-sex desire as immoral. Writing the Love of Boys looks at the response to this mindset during the critical era of cultural ferment between the two world wars as a number of Japanese writers challenged the idea of love and desire between men as pathological.
Jeffrey Angles focuses on key writers, examining how they experimented with new language, genres, and ideas to find fresh ways to represent love and desire between men. He traces the personal and literary relationships between contemporaries such as the poet Murayama Kaita, the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shiro, the anthropologist Iwata Jun’ichi, and the avant-garde innovator Inagaki Taruho.
Writing the Love of Boys shows how these authors interjected the subject of male–male desire into discussions of modern art, aesthetics, and perversity. It also explores the impact of their efforts on contemporary Japanese culture, including the development of the tropes of male homoeroticism that recur so often in Japanese girls’ manga about bishonen love.