From the Delivered to the Dispatched: Masculinity in Modern American Fiction (1969-1977) focuses on masculinity in late twentieth-century American fiction. This rigorous study shows the ways post-war American authors engage with the tension between capitalist consumer culture and traditional national conceptions of American manhood. Drawing on examples from the works of prolific contemporary American writers, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison and Michael Herr, Stilley investigates hypermasculine male violence, the classical and grotesque body, as well as specific regional themes such as the Western frontier, the American Adam, the Southern Gothic and the Suburban Gothic.
Table of Contents
1 "The land that he saw looked like a paradise. It was not, he knew."
Suburbia and the Maladjusted American Male in John Cheever’s Bullet Park
2 "This-here river don’t go nowhere."
Fraudulent Frontiers and the Failure of the Adamic Archetype in James Dickey’s Deliverance
3 "A violence born of total helplessness."
Jane, Dick and the Deterministic Denial of the Black American Male in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
4 "White pussy is nothin but trouble."
Death, Desire and the Displacement of the Feminine Body in Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God
5 "They were killers. Of course they were; what would anyone expect them to be?"
Martial Camouflage, Containment and Castration in Michael Herr’s Dispatches
Conclusion: "THIS IS NOT AN EXIT"
American Masculinity Since 1977
Harriet Stilley teaches American Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests focus on masculinity in late twentieth-century American fiction. Harriet’s work has been published in a number of American, British and European journals, including the Cormac McCarthy Journal, the Journal of American Studies, the European Journal of American Studies, and the European Journal of American Culture.
This book is a valuable and innovative contribution both to masculinity studies and to the understanding of American fiction. It is a book that encourages us to look again at canonical authors from a fresh perspective, and to pay better attention to novels that have been unduly neglected. The ideas about masculinity here have a strong contemporary resonance, while being grounded in excellent close readings of the fiction of the 1970s.
-- Dr Kenneth Millard, The University of Edinburgh
This is a politically sophisticated study of the cultural production of American masculinities in a time of social and political turbulence and rapid change. This book offers a fresh perspective on the development of masculinities in the American 1970s, and the post-Sixties, post-Vietnam, and ultimately post-Fordist shocks that the United States experienced during that decade. Considering key writers and texts from the period, this study offers a timely analysis of the constructions of masculinity during a period of social and economic upheaval.
-- Dr Brian Baker, Lancaster University, UK