During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States transformed from an essentially agrarian society into an urban, industrialized economy. In Making Men, Making Class, Thomas Winter explores the impact of these profound changes on constructions of manhood, using the YMCA's new efforts to reach out to railroad and industrial workers as a case study.
Starting in the 1870s, the leaders ("secretaries") of the YMCA sought to reduce political radicalism and labor unrest by instilling new ideals of manliness among workers. By involving workingmen in a range of activities on the job and off, the YMCA hoped to foster team spirit, moral conduct, and new standards of manhood that would avoid conflict and instead encourage cooperation along the lines of a Christian, pious manliness. In their efforts to make better men, the secretaries of the YMCA also crafted new ideals of middle-class manliness for themselves that involved a sense of mission and social purpose. In doing so, they ended up "making" class, too, as they began to speak a language of manhood structured by class differences.
The Making of the New Negro examines black masculinity in the period of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s in America and was marked by an outpouring of African American art, music, theater and literature. The Harlem Renaissance, or New Negro Movement, began attracting extensive academic attention in the 1990s as scholars discovered how complex, significant, and fascinating it was.
Drawing on African American texts, archives, unpublished writings, and contemporaneous European discourses, this book highlights both the canonical figures of the New Negro Movement and African American culture such as W. E. B. Dubois, Booker T. Washington, Alain Locke, and Richard Wright, and other writers such as Wallace Thurman, who have not received as much scholarly attention despite their significant contributions to the movement.
Anna Pochmara offers a striking combination of thorough literary analysis and historicist investigation in order to provide novel insights into one of the most important periods of black history in the United States.
Calvin Thomas's Male Matters
reveals the act and production of writing as a bodily, material process
that transgresses the boundaries of gender. Wise and quirky, sophisticated
and coarse, serious and hilarious, this look at male identity and creativity
and dislocation at the end of the twentieth century definitely will not
assuage male anxiety!
"An excellent and important
book. . . . By mixing high and low, by speaking candidly about what we
usually keep in the (water) closet, while simultaneously engaging the
'highest' philosophies of language and culture, Thomas calls the entire
enterprise of criticism into question." -- Jeremy Earp, Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity
"A brave, indispensable
exercise in writing the male body, and a tour de force of theoretically
informed close reading." -- Kevin Floyd, Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association
"Both analyzes and performs
our anxieties about masculinity. . . . This experiment in criticism transgresses
boundaries of theory, gender, and academic taste in ways sure to delight
and infuriate its readers." -- Gregory Jay, author of America the Scrivener: Deconstruction and the Subject of Literary History
"Calvin Thomas is able
to hint at a way out of the prison-house, as he puts it, of straight male
identity." -- Kathy Acker, author of In Memoriam to Identity
During the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, thousands upon thousands of American men devoted their time and money to the creation of an unsought—and in some quarters unwelcome—revived state militia. In this book, Eleanor L. Hannah studies the social history of the National Guard, focusing on issues of manhood and citizenship as they relate to the rise of the state militias.
In brief, the National Guard of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is best interpreted as one of a host of associations and organizations that American men of those eras devised to help them negotiate their location and purpose in the strange new world of industrial capitalism. The National Guards brought men from a wide array of regions, ethnicities, races, and economic backgrounds together in a single organization. These men were united by a shared understanding of ideal manhood and civic responsibility that could be expressed through membership in a state militia.
Once committed to the power of the word and the image evoked by the term “soldier” to bring diverse men together in one common bond, the men who volunteered their time and money had to give soldiering their serious attention. By 1900 a commitment to soldiering that was founded on shared social needs took on a life of its own and refocused National Guard members on an individualized, technical, professional military training—on a new kind of manhood for a new age.
The implications of this book are far-reaching, for it offers historians a fresh look at a long-ignored group of men and unites social and cultural history to explore changing notions of manhood and citizenship during years of frenetic change in the American landscape.
In Manhood Impossible, Scott Melzer argues that boys’ and men’s bodies and breadwinner status are the two primary sites for their expression of control. Controlling selves and others, and resisting being dominated and controlled is most connected to men’s bodies and work. However, no man can live up to these culturally ascendant ideals of manhood. The strategies men use to manage unmet expectations often prove toxic, not only for men themselves, but also for other men, women, and society. Melzer strategically explores the lives of four groups of adult men struggling with contemporary body and breadwinner ideals. These case studies uncover men’s struggles to achieve and maintain manhood, and redefine what it means to be a man.
When former heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries came out of retirement on the fourth of July, 1910 to fight current black heavywight champion Jack Johnson in Reno, Nevada, he boasted that he was doing it "for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a negro." Jeffries, though, was trounced. Whites everywhere rioted. The furor, Gail Bederman demonstrates, was part of two fundamental and volatile national obsessions: manhood and racial dominance.
In turn-of-the-century America, cultural ideals of manhood changed profoundly, as Victorian notions of self-restrained, moral manliness were challenged by ideals of an aggressive, overtly sexualized masculinity. Bederman traces this shift in values and shows how it brought together two seemingly contradictory ideals: the unfettered virility of racially "primitive" men and the refined superiority of "civilized" white men. Focusing on the lives and works of four very different Americans—Theodore Roosevelt, educator G. Stanley Hall, Ida B. Wells, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman—she illuminates the ideological, cultural, and social interests these ideals came to serve.
In this innovative analysis of the interconnections between nation and aesthetics in the United States during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, David A. Gerstner reveals the crucial role of early cinema in consolidating a masculine ideal under American capitalism. Gerstner describes how cinema came to be considered the art form of the New World and how its experimental qualities infused other artistic traditions (many associated with Europe—painting, literature, and even photography) with new life: brash, virile, American life. He argues that early filmmakers were as concerned with establishing cinema’s standing in relation to other art forms as they were with storytelling. Focusing on the formal dimensions of early-twentieth-century films, he describes how filmmakers drew on European and American theater, literature, and painting to forge a national aesthetic that equated democracy with masculinity.
Gerstner provides in-depth readings of several early American films, illuminating their connections to a wide range of artistic traditions and cultural developments, including dance, poetry, cubism, realism, romanticism, and urbanization. He shows how J. Stuart Blackton and Theodore Roosevelt developed The Battle Cry of Peace (1915) to disclose cinema’s nationalist possibilities during the era of the new twentieth-century urban frontier; how Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler positioned a national avant-garde through the fusion of “American Cubism” and industrialization in their film, Manhatta (1921); and how Oscar Micheaux drew on slave narratives and other African American artistic traditions as he grappled with the ideological terms of African American and white American manhood in his movie Within Our Gates (1920). Turning to Vincente Minnelli’s Cabin in the Sky (1943), Gerstner points to the emergence of an aesthetic of cultural excess that brought together white and African American cultural producers—many of them queer—and troubled the equation of national arts with masculinity.
The question of masculinity formed a key part of the intellectual life of late antiquity and was crucial to the development of Christian society. This idea is at the heart of Mathew Kuefler's new book, which revisits the Roman Empire during the third and fifth centuries of the common era. Kuefler argues that the collapse of the Roman army, an increasingly autocratic government, and growing restrictions on the traditional rights of men within marriage and sexuality all led to an endemic crisis in masculinity: men of Roman aristocracy, who had always felt themselves to be soldiers, statesmen, and the heads of households, became, by their own definition, unmanly.
The cultural and demographic success of Christianity during this epoch lay in the ability of its leaders to recognize and respond to this crisis. Drawing on the tradition of gender ambiguity in early Christian teachings, which included Jesus's exhortation that his followers "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven," Christian writers and thinkers crafted a new masculine ideal, one that took advantage of the changing social realities in Rome, inverted the Roman model of manliness, and helped solidify Christian ideology by reinstating the masculinity of its adherents.
The Manly Masquerade unravels the complex ways men were defined as men in Renaissance Italy through readings of a vast array of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century evidence: medical and travel literature; theology; law; myth; conduct books; and plays, chivalric romances, and novellas by authors including Machiavelli, Tasso, and Ariosto. Valeria Finucci shows how ideas of masculinity were formed in the midst of acute anxiety about paternity by highlighting the beliefs—widely held at the time—that conception could occur without a paternal imprimatur or through a woman’s encounter with an animal, or even that a pregnant woman’s imagination could erase the father’s "signature" from the fetus. Against these visions of reproduction gone awry, Finucci looks at how concepts of masculinity were tied to issues of paternity through social standing, legal matters, and inheritance practices.
Highlighting the fissures running through Italian Renaissance ideas of manliness, Finucci describes how, alongside pervasive images of the virile, sexually active man, early modern Italian culture recognized the existence of hermaphrodites and started to experiment with a new kind of sexuality by manufacturing a non-man: the castrato. Following the creation of castrati, the Church forbade the marriage of all non-procreative men, and, in this move, Finucci identifies a powerful legitimation of the view that what makes men is not the possession of male organs or the ability to have sex, but the capability to father. Through analysis, anecdote, and rich cultural description, The Manly Masquerade exposes the "real" early modern man: the paterfamilias.
In this critical history of the gendered politics of rhetoric and the rise of composition, Miriam Brody argues that nothing about words or their arrangement is innately gendered. Yet since the English Enlightenment, teachers have encouraged their students to admire and imitate "manly" writing, writing that is plain, forceful, cogent, and true. Similarly, students have been enjoined to avoid so-called effeminate or feminine writing—writing characterized as vague, unorganized, ornate, and deceitful.
Such advice, part of what Brody terms the hidden curriculum, has served the interests of discourse communities as various as the early Enlightenment Royal Society in seventeenth-century London (by urging a clear and masculine style for the work of science) and the land-grant universities of nineteenth-century America (by claiming that the work of writing was similar to clearing the land and pushing back the frontier). Brody’s discussion in fact becomes a social history of canonical rhetorical essays and important late Enlightenment, nineteenth-century, and early modern school texts. She points out that in their advice to writers even the Strunks and Whites and Peter Elbows of more recent times have extolled masculine virtues and urged control over invasive and problematic feminine qualities.
Brody’s book not only clarifies rhetoric’s inheritance and transformation of the classical ideal of manliness, it also is the first critical work to explore the ideological significance of gendered imagery and to interpret in light of this imagery rhetorical essays and hard-to-locate early composition texts against a background of previously unpublished archival materials.
Demonstrates how concepts of masculinity shaped the aesthetic foundations of literary naturalism.
A Man's Game explores the development of American literary naturalism as it relates to definitions of manhood in many of the movement's key texts and the aesthetic goals of writers such as Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, Charles Chestnutt, and James Weldon Johnson. John Dudley argues that in the climate of the late 19th century, when these authors were penning their major works, literary endeavors were widely viewed as frivolous, the work of ladies for ladies, who comprised the vast majority of the dependable reading public. Male writers such as Crane and Norris defined themselves and their work in contrast to this perception of literature. Women like Wharton, on the other hand, wrote out of a skeptical or hostile reaction to the expectations of them as woman writers.
Dudley explores a number of social, historical, and cultural developments that catalyzed the masculine impulse underlying literary naturalism: the rise of spectator sports and masculine athleticism; the professional role of the journalist, adopted by many male writers, allowing them to camouflage their primary role as artist; and post-Darwinian interest in the sexual component of natural selection. A Man's Game also explores the surprising adoption of a masculine literary naturalism by African-American writers at the beginning of the 20th century, a strategy, despite naturalism's emphasis on heredity and genetic determinism, that helped define the black struggle for racial equality.
Between October 2010 and August 2013, Sam McKegney conducted interviews with leading Indigenous artists, critics, activists, and elders on the subject of Indigenous manhood. In offices, kitchens, and coffee shops, and once in a car driving down the 401, McKegney and his participants tackled crucial questions about masculine self-worth and how to foster balanced and empowered gender relations. Masculindians captures twenty-two of these conversations in a volume that is intensely personal, yet speaks across generations, geography, and gender boundaries. As varied as their speakers, the discussions range from culture, history, and world view to gender theory, artistic representations, and activist interventions. They speak of possibility and strength, of beauty and vulnerability. They speak of sensuality, eroticism, and warriorhood, and of the corrosive influence of shame, racism, and violence. Firmly grounding Indigenous continuance in sacred landscapes, interpersonal reciprocity, and relations with other-than-human kin, these conversations honor and embolden the generative potential of healthy Indigenous masculinities.
Contributors: Taiaiake Alfred, Kim Anderson, Joanne Arnott, Joseph Boyden, Alison Calder, Warren Cariou, Jessica Danforth, Louise Halfe, Tomson Highway, Daniel Heath Justice, Janice C. Hill Kanonhsyonni, Lee Maracle, Neal McLeod, Daniel David Moses, Gregory Scofield, Thomas Kimeksum Thrasher, and Richard Van Camp.
What did it mean to be a man in medieval England? Most would answer this question by alluding to the power and status men enjoyed in a patriarchal society, or they might refer to iconic images of chivalrous knights. While these popular ideas do have their roots in the history of the aristocracy, the experience of ordinary men was far more complicated.
Marshalling a wide array of colorful evidence—including legal records, letters, medical sources, and the literature of the period—Derek G. Neal here plumbs the social and cultural significance of masculinity during the generations born between the Black Death and the Protestant Reformation. He discovers that social relations between men, founded on the ideals of honesty and self-restraint, were at least as important as their domination and control of women in defining their identities. By carefully exploring the social, physical, and psychological aspects of masculinity, The Masculine Self in Late Medieval England offers a uniquely comprehensive account of the exterior and interior lives of medieval men.
Masculinity and femininity remain among the more confounding constructs in the history of personality psychology and psychological assessment. In spite of years of research and thousands of empirical studies, masculinity and femininity are still so fraught with confusion and political controversy that several prominent psychologists have suggested that the terms be abandoned. In this informative book, Hale Martin and Stephen E. Finn bring clarity to this topic by comprehensively reviewing past research and theory and extensively exploring "masculinity" and "femininity" as they are measured in the widely used MMPI instruments.
Martin and Finn consider the factor structure and correlates of masculinity and femininity in the MMPI in multiple samples. Through their analyses, they are able to address such questions as: Is there such a thing as masculinity/femininity? If so, are masculinity and femininity separate constructs, or are they opposite ends of a bipolar dimension? What are the core aspects of masculinity and femininity? Are they the same for men and women? Do the meanings of masculinity and femininity vary across the human life span and in different cultures? To what extent are masculinity and femininity biologically or socially determined? Can masculinity and femininity be adequately measured by the MMPI-2 and MMPI-A?
This insightful work uses solid empirical methods to clarify significant constructs. It will be an essential resource for researchers in the areas of personality, psychological assessment, and gender studies, as well as for clinicians working with clients who have nontraditional gender identities.
A generation of historians has been captivated by the notorious views on gender found in the mid-sixth century Secret History by the Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea. Yet the notable but subtler ways in which gender coloured Procopius' most significant work, the Wars, have received far less attention. This monograph examines how gender shaped the presentation of not only key personalities such as the seminal power-couples Theodora/ Justinian and Antonina/ Belisarius, but also the Persians, Vandals, Goths, Eastern Romans, and Italo-Romans, in both the Wars and the Secret History. By analysing the purpose and rationale behind Procopius' gendered depictions and ethnicizing worldview, this investigation unpicks his knotty agenda. Despite Procopius's reliance on classical antecedents, the gendered discourse that undergirds both texts under investigation must be understood within the broader context of contemporary political debates at a time when control of Italy and North Africa from Constantinople was contested.
Masculinity, Motherhood, and Mockery analyzes the relationship between masculinity and motherhood in an Eastern Iatmul village along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. It focuses on a metaphorical dialogue between two countervailing images of the body, dubbed by literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin as the "moral" and the "grotesque." Eastern Iatmul men in Tambunum village idealize an image of motherhood that is nurturing, sheltering, cleansing, fertile, and chaste--in a word, moral. But men also fear an equally compelling image of motherhood that is defiling, dangerous, orificial, aggressive, and carnal--hence, grotesque. Masculinity in Tambunum is a rejoinder both subtle and strident, both muted and impassioned, to these contrary, embodied images of motherhood.
Throughout this work, Eric Silverman details the dialogics of mothering and manhood throughout Eastern Iatmul culture, including in his analysis cosmology and myth; food- and childraising; architecture and canoes; ethnophysiology and sexuality; shame and hygiene; marriage and kinship; and perhaps most significantly, a ceremonial locus classicus in anthropology: the famous Iatmul naven rite. This book provides the first sustained examination of naven since Bateson, presenting new data and interpretations that are based entirely on original, first-hand ethnographic research.
The sustained engagement with anthropological and psychoanalytic theory coupled with a refreshing examination of a famous and still-enigmatic ritual is sure to make multiple contributions to pressing debates in contemporary anthropology and social theory.
Eric Silverman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University.
In Masonic Temples, William D. Moore introduces readers to the structures American Freemasons erected over the sixty-year period from 1870 to 1930, when these temples became a ubiquitous feature of the American landscape. As representations of King Solomon’s temple in ancient Jerusalem erected in almost every American town and city, Masonic temples provided specially designed spaces for the enactment of this influential fraternity’s secret rituals. Using New York State as a case study, Moore not only analyzes the design and construction of Masonic structures and provides their historical context, but he also links the temples to American concepts of masculinity during this period of profound economic and social transformation. By examining edifices previously overlooked by architectural and social historians, Moore decodes the design and social function of Masonic architecture and offers compelling new insights into the construction of American masculinity. Four distinct sets of Masonic ritual spaces—the Masonic lodge room, the armory and drill room of the Knights Templar, the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and the Shriners’ mosque – form the central focus of this volume. Moore argues that these spaces and their accompanying ceremonies communicated four alternative masculine archetypes to American Freemasons—the heroic artisan, the holy warrior, the adept or wise man, and the frivolous jester or fool. Although not a Freemason, Moore draws from his experience as director of the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library in New York City, where heutilized sources previously inaccessible to scholars. His work should prove valuable to readers with interests in vernacular architecture, material culture, American studies, architectural and social history, Freemasonry, and voluntary associations.
Maturing Masculinities is a nuanced exploration of how older men in urban Mexico incorporate aging, chronic illness, changing social relationships, and decreasing erectile function into their conceptions of themselves as men. It is based on interviews that Emily A. Wentzell conducted with more than 250 male patients in the urology clinic of a government-run hospital in Cuernavaca. Drawing on science studies, medical anthropology, and gender theory, Wentzell suggests the idea of "composite masculinities" as a paradigm for understanding how men incorporate physical and social change into gendered selfhoods.
Erectile dysfunction treatments like Viagra are popular in Mexico, where stereotypes of men as sex-obsessed "machos" persist. However, most of the men Wentzell interviewed saw erectile difficulty as a chance to demonstrate difference from this stereotype. Rather than using drugs to continue youthful sex lives, many collaborated with wives and physicians to frame erectile difficulty as a prompt to embody age-appropriate, mature masculinities.
Meanings for Manhood
Edited by Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress HQ1090.3.M43 1990 | Dewey Decimal 305.31097309034
The stereotype of the Victorian man as a flinty, sexually repressed patriarch belies the remarkably wide variety of male behaviors and conceptions of manhood during the mid- to late- nineteenth century. A complex pattern of alternative and even competing behaviors and attitudes emerges in this important collection of essays that points toward a "gendered history" of men.
The Measure of Manliness is among the first books to focus on representations of disability in Victorian literature, showing that far from being marginalized or pathologized, disability was central to the narrative form of the mid-century novel. Mid-Victorian novels evidenced a proliferation of male characters with disabilities, a phenomenon that author Karen Bourrier sees as a response to the rise of a new Victorian culture of industry and vitality, and its corollary emphasis on a hardy, active manhood. The figure of the voluble, weak man was a necessary narrative complement to the silent, strong man. The disabled male embodied traditionally feminine virtues, softening the taciturn strong man, and eliciting emotional depths from his seemingly coarse muscular frame. Yet, the weak man was able to follow the strong man where female characters could not, to all-male arenas such as the warehouse and the public school.
The analysis yokes together historical and narrative concerns, showing how developments in nineteenth-century masculinity led to a formal innovation in literature: the focalization or narration of the novel through the perspective of a weak or disabled man. The Measure of Manliness charts new territory in showing how feeling and loquacious bodies were increasingly seen as sick bodies throughout the nineteenth century. The book will appeal to those interested in disability studies, gender and masculinity studies, the theorization of sympathy and affect, the recovery of women’s writing and popular fiction, the history of medicine and technology, and queer theory.
edited by Dana Rosenfeld and Christopher A. Faircloth Temple University Press, 2006 Library of Congress RA564.83.M43 2006 | Dewey Decimal 613.04234
When medicalization—the characterization of human traits in terms of disease and ailment—first appeared as a concept in the 1970s, most social science gender scholarship focused on female or genderless bodies. The work on men, health, and medicine was scant and tended to depict masculinity as intrinsically damaging to men's health.
Medicalized Masculinities considers how these threads in scholarship failed to consider the male body adequately and presents cutting-edge research into the definition and regulation of masculinity by medicine. Renowned health and gender studies experts examine medicalized conditions such as balding, aging, and other dimensions of the life cycle in the tradition of the sociology of health and gender.
“I realize that I am a soldier of production whose duties are as important in this war as those of the man behind the gun.” So began the pledge that many home front men took at the outset of World War II when they went to work in the factories, fields, and mines while their compatriots fought in the battlefields of Europe and on the bloody beaches of the Pacific. The male experience of working and living in wartime America is rarely examined, but the story of men like these provides a crucial counter-narrative to the national story of Rosie the Riveter and GI Joe that dominates scholarly and popular discussions of World War II.
In Meet Joe Copper, Matthew L. Basso describes the formation of a powerful, white, working-class masculine ideology in the decades prior to the war, and shows how it thrived—on the job, in the community, and through union politics. Basso recalls for us the practices and beliefs of the first- and second-generation immigrant copper workers of Montana while advancing the historical conversation on gender, class, and the formation of a white ethnic racial identity. Meet Joe Copper provides a context for our ideas of postwar masculinity and whiteness and finally returns the men of the home front to our reckoning of the Greatest Generation and the New Deal era.
Daring new theories of masculinity, built from a large and geographically diverse interview study of transgender men
American masculinity is being critiqued, questioned, and reinterpreted for a new era. In Men in Place Miriam J. Abelson makes an original contribution to this conversation through in-depth interviews with trans men in the U.S. West, Southeast, and Midwest, showing how the places and spaces men inhabit are fundamental to their experiences of race, sexuality, and gender.
Men in Place explores the shifting meanings of being a man across cities and in rural areas. Here Abelson develops the insight that individual men do not have one way to be masculine—rather, their ways of being men shift between different spaces and places. She reveals a widespread version of masculinity that might be summed up as “strong when I need to be, soft when I need to be,” using the experiences of trans men to highlight the fundamental construction of manhood for all men.
With an eye to how societal institutions promote homophobia, transphobia, and racism, Men in Place argues that race and sexuality fundamentally shape safety for men, particularly in rural spaces, and helps us to better understand the ways that gender is created and enforced.
While the 1950s have been popularly portrayed-on television and in the movies and literature-as a conformist and conservative age, the decade is better understood as a revolutionary time for politics, economy, mass media, and family life. Magazines, films, newspapers, and television of the day scrutinized every aspect of this changing society, paying special attention to the lifestyles of the middle-class men and their families who were moving to the suburbs newly springing up outside American cities. Much of this attention focused on issues of masculinity, both to enforce accepted ideas and to understand serious departures from the norm. Neither a period of "male crisis" nor yet a time of free experimentation, the decade was marked by contradiction and a wide spectrum of role models. This was, in short, the age of Tennessee Williams as well as John Wayne.
In Men in the Middle, James Gilbert uncovers a fascinating and extensive body of literature that confronts the problems and possibilities of expressing masculinity in the 1950s. Drawing on the biographies of men who explored manhood either in their writings or in their public personas, Gilbert examines the stories of several of the most important figures of the day-revivalist Billy Graham, playwright Tennessee Williams, sociologist David Riesman, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, Playboy literary editor Auguste Comte Spectorsky, and TV-sitcom dad Ozzie Nelson-and allows us to see beyond the inherited stereotypes of the time. Each of these stories, in Gilbert's hands, adds crucial dimensions to our understanding of masculinity the 1950s. No longer will this era be seen solely in terms of the conformist man in the gray flannel suit or the Marlboro Man.
In Men without Women Eliot Borenstein examines the literature of the early Soviet period to shed new light on the iconic Russian concept of comradeship. By analyzing a variety of Russian writers who span the ideological spectrum, Borenstein provides an illuminating reading of the construction of masculinity in Soviet culture. In each example he identifies the replacement of blood ties with ideology and the creation of a social order in which the family has been supplanted by the collective. In such works as Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel, Envy by Yuri Olesha, and Chevengur by Andrei Platonov women are either absent or transformed into bodiless abstractions. Their absence, claims Borenstein, reflects the masculine values that are hallmarks of the post-revolutionary era: production rather than reproduction, participation in history rather than domestic ahistoricity, heavy industry, construction, and struggle. He identifies in this literature groups of “men without women” replacing the family, even while the metaphor of family is used as an organizing feature of their recurring revolutionary missions. With the passage of time, these characters’ relationships—just as those in the Soviet culture of the time—begin to resemble the family structure that was originally rejected and destroyed, with one important exception: the new “families” had no place for women. According to Borenstein, this masculinist myth found its most congenial audience during the early period of communism, but its hostility to women and family ties could not survive into the Stalinist era when women, home, and family were no longer seen as antithetical to socialism. Drawing on the theory and writings of Levi-Strauss, Girard, Sedgwick, and others, Men Without Women will be of interest to students and scholars of Slavic literature and history as well as specialists in literary theory and gender studies.
This past decade has witnessed an extraordinary transformation in men's lives. For years, wave after wave of the women's movement, a movement that reshaped every aspect of American life, produced nary a ripple among men. But suddenly men are in the spotlight.
Yet, the public discussions often seem strained, silly, and sometimes flat-out wrong. The spotlight itself seems to obscure as much as it illuminates. Old tired clichTs about men's resistance to romantic commitment or reluctance to be led to the marriage altar seem perennially recyclable in advice books and on TV talk shows, but these days the laughter feels more forced, the defensiveness more pronounced. Pop biologists avoid careful confrontation with serious scientific research in their quest to find anatomical or evolutionary bases for promiscuity or porn addiction, hoping that by fiat, one can pronounce that "boys will be boys" and render it more than a flaccid tautology. And political pundits wring their hands about the feminization of American manhood, as if gender equality has neutered these formerly proud studs. Misframing Men, a collection of Michael Kimmel's commentaries on contemporary debates about masculinity, argues that the media have largely misframed this debate.
Kimmel, among the world's best-known scholars in gender studies, discusses political moments such as the Virginia Military Institute and Citadel cases that reached the Supreme Court (he participated as expert witness for the Justice Department) along with Promise Keepers rallies, mythopoetic gatherings, and white supremacists. He takes on antifeminists as the real male bashers, questions the unsubstantiated assertions that men suffer from domestic violence to the same degree as women, and examines the claims made by those who want to rescue boys from the "misandrous" reforms initiated by feminism.
In writings both solidly grounded and forcefully argued, Kimmel pushes the boundaries of today's modern conversation about men and masculinity.
Modernism and Masculinity argues that a crisis of masculinity among European writers and artists played a key role in the modernist revolution. Gerald Izenberg revises the notion that the feminine provided a premodern refuge for artists critical of individualism and materialism. Industrialization and the growing power of the market inspired novelist Thomas Mann, playwright Frank Wedelind, and painter Wassily Kandinsky to feel the problematic character of their own masculinity. As a result, these artists each came to identify creativity, transcendence, and freedom with the feminine.
But their critique of masculinity created enormous challenges: How could they appropriate a feminine aesthetic while retaining their own masculine idenitites? How did appropiating the feminine affect their personal relationships or their political views? Modernism and Masculinity seeks to answer these questions. In this absorbing combination of biography and formal critique, Izenberg reconsiders the works of Mann, Wedekind, Kandinsky and semonstrates how the cirses of masculinity they endure are found not just within the images and forms of their art, but in the distinct and very personal impulses that inspired it.
On the battlefields of World War II, with their fellow soldiers as the only shield between life and death, a generation of American men found themselves connecting with each other in new and profound ways. Back home after the war, however, these intimacies faced both scorn and vicious homophobia. The Mourning After makes sense of this cruel irony, telling the story of the unmeasured toll exacted upon generations of male friendships. John Ibson draws evidence from the contrasting views of male closeness depicted in WWII-era fiction by Gore Vidal and John Horne Burns, as well as from such wide-ranging sources as psychiatry texts, child development books, the memoirs of veterans’ children, and a slew of vernacular snapshots of happy male couples. In this sweeping reinterpretation of the postwar years, Ibson argues that a prolonged mourning for tenderness lost lay at the core of midcentury American masculinity, leaving far too many men with an unspoken ache that continued long after the fighting stopped, forever damaging their relationships with their wives, their children, and each other.
This study aims to supply the first contextually precise account of the male gender anxieties and ambivalences haunting the culture of Irish nationalism in the period between the Act of Union and the founding of the Irish Free State. To this end, Joseph Valente focuses upon the Victorian ethos of manliness or manhood, the specific moral and political logic of which proved crucial to both the translation of British rule into British hegemony and the expression of Irish rebellion as Irish psychomachia. The influential operation of this ideological construct is traced through a wide variety of contexts, including the career of Ireland's dominant Parliamentary leader, Charles Stewart Parnell; the institutions of Irish Revivalism--cultural, educational, journalistic, and literary; the writings of both canonical authors (Yeats, Synge, Gregory, and Joyce) and subcanonical authors (James Stephens, Patrick Pearse, Lennox Robinson); and major political movements of the time, including suffragism, Sinn Fein, Na Fianna E Éireann, and the Volunteers.
The construct of manliness remains very much alive today, underpinning the neo-imperialist marriage of ruthless aggression and the sanctities of duty, honor, and sacrifice. Mapping its earlier colonial and postcolonial formations can help us to understand its continuing geopolitical appeal and danger.