Beards and Masculinity in American Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Beards and Masculinity in American Literature

ISBN 9781138093768
Published June 15, 2020 by Routledge
190 Pages

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Book Description

Beards and Masculinity in American Literature is a pioneering study of the symbolic power of the beard in the history of American writing. This book covers the entire breadth of American writing – from 18th century American newspapers and periodicals through the 19th and 20th centuries to recent contemporary engagements with the beard and masculinity. With chapters focused on the barber and the barbershop in American writing, the "need for a shave" in Ernest Hemingway’s fiction, Whitman’s beard as a sanctuary for poets reaching out to the bearded bard, and the contemporary re-engagement with the beard as a symbol of Otherness in post-9/11 fiction, Beards and Masculinity in American Literature underlines the symbolic power of facial hair in key works of American writing.

Table of Contents


The Barbershop in American Literature

    • Barbers and Barbershops in early American Writing: Newspapers and Magazines
    • Barbers and Blackness: Race and Violence in the American barbershop
    • The Barbershop and White Male Nostalgia

The Need for a Shave: Beards in Masculinity in Ernest Hemingway's Fiction

The Bards and their Beards: Walt Whitman’s "Beard Full of Butterflies" in the poetry of Federico García Lorca and Allen Ginsberg

The Beard, Masculinity, and the Other in the post-9/11 novel


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    Dr. Peter Ferry is Associate Professor of English at the University of Stavanger, Norway, where he teaches 19th, 20th, and 21st Century Literature. His research focuses primarily on representations of gender and masculinity in American Literature alongside a continuing curiosity in the flâneur in American writing. Previous publications on these research interests are headed by Masculinity in Contemporary New York Fiction (Routledge 2015).