Masculinity and Patriarchal Villainy in the British Novel: From Hitler to Voldemort sits at the intersection of literary studies and masculinity studies, arguing that the villain, in many works of contemporary British fiction, is a patriarchal figure that embodies an excess of patriarchal power that needs to be controlled by the hero. The villains' stories are enactments of empowerment fantasies and cautionary tales against abusing patriarchal power. While providing readers with in-depth studies of some of the most popular contemporary fiction villans, Sara Martín shows how current representations of the villain are not only measured against previous literary characters but also against the real-life figure of the archvillain Adolf Hitler.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Defining the Patriarchal Villain
Chapter 1. Adolf Hitler: The Threat of Absolute Villainy
Chapter 2. Big Brother and O’Brien: The Mystique of Power and the Reproduction of Patriarchal Masculinity
Chapter 3. Morgoth and Sauron: The Problem of Recurring Villainy
Chapter 4. Steerpike: Gormenghast’s Angry Young Man
Chapter 5. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Larger Than Life: The Villain in the James Bond Series
Chapter 6. Richard Onslow Roper and the ‘Labyrinth of Monstrosities’: John le Carré’s Post-Cold War Villains
Chapter 7. Michael Dobbs’s Francis Urquhart Trilogy: Democracy at Risk
Chapter 8. Big Ger Cafferty, Crime Boss: The Constant Struggle to Retain Power
Chapter 9. Voldemort and the Limits of Dark Magic: Self-empowerment as Self-destruction
Sara Martín is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Cultural Studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Dr Martín specialises in Gender Studies, particularly Masculinities Studies, which she applies to the study of popular fictions in English, with an emphasis on science fiction and, secondarily, horror and fantasy. Among her books are Monstruos al Final del Milenio (2002), Expediente X: En Honor a la Verdad (2006), Recycling Cultures (ed., 2006), La Literatura (2008), Desafíos a la Heterosexualidad Obligatoria (2011) and Persistence and Resistance in English Studies (co-ed., 2018). She co-edited with Fernando Ángel Moreno a monographic issue on Spanish science fiction for Science Fiction Studies (2017). Dr Martín’s translations include Manuel de Pedrolo’s masterpiece of Catalan Literature Typescript of the Second Origin (2018).
"This is a new and provocative rethinking of masculinity. In a bold and imaginative thesis, Martín argues that the villain is a function of patriarchy’s systems of masculine entitlement, and their ‘evil’ is a form of rage against those who threaten it. With a range of stimulating readings in British fiction, this is a fascinating, original and highly readable study in ‘anti-patriarchy studies’."
--Dr Brian Baker, Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University
"Sara Martín has written an enthralling and ground-breaking account of the long-forgotten literary figure of the villain from a contemporary perspective. Taking the paradigm of Hitler as a point of departure, she explores characters as wicked as they are obscurely fascinating, ranging from Big Brother to Voldemort. And in so doing she articulates and unveils the ambiguous mechanisms of our own psyche. This is enjoyable and profound scholarship at its best."
--Dr. Antonio Ballesteros-González, Professor of English Literature, UNED (Spain)
"In her new book, Martín makes a powerful and convincing case for the importance of villainy to Masculinity Studies. Written with great verve and real critical purpose, this wonderfully provocative piece of anti-patriarchal literary scholarship is a timely and valuable addition to the field." ¿
--Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes, Reader in English Literature and Film, Manchester Metropolitan University