The unquenchable thirst of Dracula. The animal lust of Mr. Hyde. The acquiescence of Lewis Carroll's Alice. Victorian literature--with its overtones of prudishness, respectability, and Old World hypocrisy--belies a subverted eroticism. The Victorian Gothic is monstrous but restrained, repressed but perverse, static but transformative, and preoccupied by gender and sexuality in both regressive and progressive ways.
Laura Helen Marks investigates the contradictions and seesawing gender dynamics in Victorian-inspired adult films and looks at why pornographers persist in drawing substance and meaning from the era's Gothic tales. She focuses on the particular Victorianness that pornography prefers, and the mythologies of the Victorian era that fuel today's pornographic fantasies. In turn, she exposes what porning the Victorians shows us about pornography as a genre.
A bold foray into theory and other forbidden places, Alice in Pornoland reveals how modern-day Victorian Gothic pornography constantly emphasizes, navigates, transgresses, and renegotiates issues of gender, sexuality, and race.
In war films, the portrayal of deep friendships between men is commonplace. Given the sexually anxious nature of the American imagination, such bonds are often interpreted as carrying a homoerotic subtext. In Armed Forces , Robert Eberwein argues that an expanded conception of masculinity and sexuality is necessary in order to understand more fully the intricacy of these intense and emotional human relationships. Drawing on a range of examples from silent films such as What Price Glory and Wings to sound era works like The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Three Kings, and Pearl Harbor , he shows how close readings of war films, particularly in relation to their cultural contexts, demonstrate that depictions of heterosexual love, including those in romantic triangles, actually help to define and clarify the nonsexual nature of male love. The book also explores the problematic aspects of masculinity and sexuality when threatened by wounds, as in The Best Years of Our Lives, and considers the complex and persistent analogy between weapons and the male body, as in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan .