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May 08 , 2011

Post-World War II Masculinities in British and American Literature and Culture

Towards Comparative Masculinity Studies


Analyzing literary texts, plays, films and photographs within a transatlantic framework, this volume explores the inseparable and mutually influential relationship between different forms of national identity in Great Britain and the United States and the construction of masculinity in each country. The contributors take up issues related to how certain kinds of nationally specific masculine identifications are produced, how these change over time, and how literature and other forms of cultural representation eventually question and deconstruct their own myths of masculinity. Focusing on the period from the end of World War II to the 1980s, the essays each take up a topic with particular cultural and historical resonance, whether it is hypermasculinity in early cold war films; the articulation of male anxieties in plays by Arthur Miller, David Mamet and Sam Shepard; the evolution of photographic depictions of masculinity from the 1960s to the 1980s; or the representations of masculinity in the fiction of American and British writers such as Patricia Highsmith, Richard Yates, John Braine, Martin Amis, Evan S. Connell, James Dickey, John Berger, Philip Roth, Frank Chin, and Maxine Hong Kingston. The editors and contributors make a case for the importance of understanding the larger context for the emergence of more pluralistic, culturally differentiated and ultimately transnational masculinities, arguing that it is possible to conceptualize and emphasize difference and commonality simultaneously.

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