Between Profits and Primitivism: Shaping White Middle-Class Masculinity in the U.S., 1880-1917, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Between Profits and Primitivism

Shaping White Middle-Class Masculinity in the U.S., 1880-1917, 1st Edition

By Athena Devlin


186 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-06-21
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Between 1800 and the First World War, white middle-class men were depicted various forms of literature as weak and nervous. This book explores cultural writings dedicated to the physical and mental health of the male subject, showing that men have mobilized gender constructions repeatedly and self-consciously to position themselves within the culture. Aiming to join those who offer nuanced accounts of masculinity, Devlin investigates the various and changing interests white manhood was positioned to cultivate and the ways elite white men used "their own," so to speak, to promote larger agendas for their class and race.

Table of Contents


1. Managing the Middle-Class Male Body in the Age of Efficiency

2. The Male Body and the Market Economy: the Case of Dreiser's Frank Cowperwood

3. Male Hysteria and the Gendering of the Subconscious

4. Shapes that Haunt the Dusk: Masculinity and the Supernatural Experience in Fiction

About the Author

Athena Devlin's work on gender has appeared in The Columbia Journal of American Studies and the anthology Women: Images and Realities. In addition to working on several public history projects and documentaries, she has taught American Studies and Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she earned her Ph.D., and St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

About the Series

Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies