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

By John Dudley

Demonstrates how ideas of masculinity formed the cultured foundations of literary naturalism.

A Man's Game explores the improvement of yank literary naturalism because it pertains to definitions of manhood in lots of of the movement's key texts and the classy objectives of writers corresponding 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, while those authors have been penning their significant works, literary endeavors have been largely seen as frivolous, the paintings of girls for girls, who comprised the majority of the in charge examining public. Male writers resembling Crane and Norris outlined themselves and their paintings not like this conception of literature. girls like Wharton, nevertheless, wrote out of a skeptical or antagonistic response to the expectancies of them as lady writers.

Dudley explores a few 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 through many male writers, permitting them to camouflage their fundamental function as artist; and post-Darwinian curiosity within the sexual section of common selection. A Man's online game also explores the spectacular adoption of a masculine literary naturalism by means of African-American writers at first 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 resources for A Man's Game: Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism (Amer Lit Realism & Naturalism)

Sample text

If, as racialist theories of the time maintained, Africans, Native Americans, and Asians were clearly inferior, subject to the domination of “civilized” whites, then those immigrants from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Ireland occupied a transitional evolutionary group who threatened to assimilate in ways not possible for those with more pronounced racial differences. The Irish, in particular, with their presumed animalistic behavior and crude customs, served as atavistic versions of middleand upper-class whites and represented the primal essence lurking beneath Anglo-Saxon civilization.

Whereas boxing had developed with upper-class “gentlemen of the fancy” observing and wagering on the exploits of working-class men, occasionally donning gloves for a few rounds of sparring, the participatory impulse in football resulted in the complete immersion of the upper-class male in the spectacle itself. Riess, in his book City Games: The Evolution of American Urban Society and the Rise of Sports, emphasizes the role that football played in shaping a generation of privileged young men: “Football, more 42 / Inside and Outside the Ring than any other intercollegiate sport, ¤t in with the needs of upper- and upper-middle-class urban youth at a time when America was ripe for a violent and virile sport that stood for honorable values in stark contrast to the corruption, greed, and materialism of the Gilded Age” (55–56).

He indulges in subjective judgments, repeatedly describing the meager intellect of his protagonist, a “poor crude dentist of Polk Street, stupid, ignorant, vulgar, with his sham education and plebeian tastes” (282). Norris also reiterates the sensational rhetoric of contemporary journalism, such as the accounts of Patrick Collins’s case, upon which Norris based the plot of his novel. When depicting McTeague’s murder of Trina, however, Norris’s penchant for documentary detail yields to more genteel standards.

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