By John Dudley
Demonstrates how techniques of masculinity formed the cultured foundations of literary naturalism.
A Man's Game explores the advance of yankee literary naturalism because it pertains to definitions of manhood in lots of of the movement's key texts and the cultured targets of writers equivalent to Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, Charles Chestnutt, and James Weldon Johnson. John Dudley argues that during the weather of the past due nineteenth century, whilst those authors have been penning their significant works, literary endeavors have been commonly seen as frivolous, the paintings of women for girls, who comprised the majority of the liable analyzing public. Male writers comparable to Crane and Norris outlined themselves and their paintings unlike this notion of literature. ladies like Wharton, however, wrote out of a skeptical or adverse response to the expectancies of them as girl writers.
Dudley explores a few social, old, 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 via many male writers, permitting them to camouflage their fundamental function as artist; and post-Darwinian curiosity within the sexual element of usual selection. A Man's online game also explores the excellent adoption of a masculine literary naturalism via African-American writers at the start of the 20 th 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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Additional info for A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism (Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism)
When depicting McTeague’s murder of Trina, however, Norris’s penchant for documentary detail yields to more genteel standards. ” “Then,” the narrator declares, as though in hushed tones, “it became abominable” (525). This tension between objective observer and bitter moralist typi¤es the dialectic present in Norris’s work, and within naturalist discourse. On one hand, the narrator represents the detached scientist of Zola’s “experimental novel”—on the other, an outraged spectator, appalled by the degeneration and atavism of the characters.
Genevieve, for her part, trembles “with a vague and nameless delight” when Joe accidentally causes her pain with one of his embraces (70). Such is the pattern for “normal” male-female sexuality, the dynamics of which London compares to the action in the boxing ring. The Masculinist Aesthetic Sensibility / 41 point of a match, after all, is to establish dominance, to withstand painful blows and “down an antagonist,” thereby con¤rming one’s superiority as a competitor and as a man. Along with the increased interest in athletics as entertainment came the phenomenon known as “spectatoritis”—a by-product of spectator sports that produced, in the words of Seton, “®at-chested cigarette smokers with shaky nerves and doubtful vitality” (Boy Scouts of America xi).
In both cases, however, the author remains an outsider, necessarily connected to the text, yet distinctly apart from it, separated by barriers of class, race, and— by inference—gender, as the formidable masculinity of characters such as McTeague remains an essential component of their identity. Closely connected with the destructive or degenerative tendencies lurking beneath the surface of apparently civilized men is the equally formidable force of masculine sexuality. Crane and Norris both suggest that the appearance of sexual desire in a man inevitably awakens a violent beast, which, left unchecked, may completely dominate his personality.
A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism (Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism) by John Dudley