By John Dudley
Demonstrates how suggestions of masculinity formed the classy 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 reminiscent of 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 largely seen as frivolous, the paintings of girls for women, who comprised the majority of the responsible interpreting public. Male writers reminiscent of Crane and Norris outlined themselves and their paintings unlike this conception of literature. girls like Wharton, however, wrote out of a skeptical or antagonistic response to the expectancies of them as lady writers.
Dudley explores a couple of social, ancient, and cultural advancements that catalyzed the masculine impulse underlying literary naturalism: the increase of spectator activities and masculine athleticism; the pro function of the journalist, followed via many male writers, permitting them to camouflage their fundamental position as artist; and post-Darwinian curiosity within the sexual portion of traditional selection. A Man's online game also explores the spectacular adoption of a masculine literary naturalism by means of African-American writers firstly 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)
For the elite members of society, boxers represented manly force in its most basic form. Sullivan became the ¤rst mainstream “celebrity” of the sport, not only for the working-class immigrant culture he personi¤ed, but for white-collar upper- and middle-class culture at large. He was, argues Isenberg, “the ¤rst signi¤cant mass cultural hero in American life” (13). 10 The status of the Irishman as a liminal ¤gure between the racial Other and the dominant Anglo-Saxon highlights the simpli¤ed social Darwinism of the late nineteenth century, in which Anglo-Saxons ¤gured as the pinnacle of human evolution.
As Kimmel argues, “This preoccupation with physicality meant that men’s bodies carried a different sort of weight than earlier. The body did not contain the man, expressing the man within; now, that body was the man” (127). Moral, intellectual, and physical strength became inextricably linked, and sophisticated, cultivated men embraced the primitive as a necessary corrective to their increasingly sedentary lives. Discussing Roosevelt’s call for “the strenuous life” and Ernest Thompson Seton’s establishment of the Woodcraft movement and the Boy Scouts of America, Mark Seltzer notes that “linking together anxieties about the male natural body and the body of the nation—linking together, that is, body-building and nation-building— Seton’s or Roosevelt’s programs for the making of men posit not merely that the individual is something that can be made but that the male natural body and national geography are surrogate terms” (149–50).
Although superior by class, or at least by super¤cial appearance and the size of their pocketbooks, the paying customers willingly submit to the temporary dominance of the brute. What is being exchanged for their entertainment dollar is manliness, transferred to the spectators from those clearly marked, either by class or race, as less civilized. This discomfort that accompanies the role of spectator involves not only the audience gathered to watch Joe’s boxing match, but the audience of London’s novel as well.
A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism (Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism) by John Dudley