A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of by John Dudley

By John Dudley

Demonstrates how innovations of masculinity formed the classy foundations of literary naturalism.

A Man's Game explores the improvement of yankee literary naturalism because it pertains to definitions of manhood in lots of of the movement's key texts and the cultured pursuits of writers comparable to Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, Charles Chestnutt, and James Weldon Johnson. John Dudley argues that during the weather of the overdue nineteenth century, whilst those authors have been penning their significant works, literary endeavors have been broadly considered as frivolous, the paintings of girls for girls, who comprised nearly all of the accountable interpreting public. Male writers equivalent to Crane and Norris outlined themselves and their paintings unlike this notion of literature. girls like Wharton, nonetheless, wrote out of a skeptical or adverse response to the expectancies of them as lady writers.

Dudley explores a couple of social, historic, and cultural advancements that catalyzed the masculine impulse underlying literary naturalism: the increase of spectator activities and masculine athleticism; the pro position of the journalist, followed by means of many male writers, letting them camouflage their basic position as artist; and post-Darwinian curiosity within the sexual element of average selection. A Man's video game also explores the impressive adoption of a masculine literary naturalism through African-American writers initially of the twentieth century, a method, regardless of naturalism's emphasis on heredity and genetic determinism, that helped outline the black fight for racial equality.

 

 

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Extra info for A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism (Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism)

Example text

And yet here, with this girl he loved, came the desire to hurt. . He could not understand, and felt that he was discovering depths of brutality in his nature of which he had never dreamed. (69–70) London, like Norris, re®ects the widespread understanding of human sexuality as a natural reversion to brutal, animal instincts, analogous to the relationship of hunter to prey. Genevieve, for her part, trembles “with a vague and nameless delight” when Joe accidentally causes her pain with one of his embraces (70).

The ideal heroic ¤gure, therefore, is a man who can negotiate between the extremes of primitive and civilized behaviors. This negotiation may result from the initiation of an educated, feminized man into a violent hypermasculine world, such as Humphrey Van Weyden’s rough education at the hands of Wolf Larsen in London’s The Sea-Wolf, or it may involve the softening of a coarse bachelor by a strong-willed woman, as is the case with Buck Annixter in Norris’s The Octopus or with Condy Rivers in Norris’s autobiographical novel, Blix.

In this context, the emergence of professional spectator sports in the United States provides important insight into the ways in which naturalist texts employ and adapt the masculinist ethos of the Progressive Era in the shaping of an aesthetic strategy that continues to in®uence the concept of the writer in American culture. With its interwoven notions of manliness, professionalism, national identity, and spectacle, the sporting culture of the late nineteenth century re®ects and illuminates the formal characteristics of American literary naturalism.

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