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A Man's Game, A Man's Game, 0817313478, 0-8173-1347-8, 978-0-8173-1347-0, 9780817313470, , , A Man's Game, 0817381821, 0-8173-8182-1, 978-0-8173-8182-0, 9780817381820, , , A Man's Game, 081735879X, 0-8173-5879-X, 978-0-8173-5879-2, 9780817358792,

A Man's Game
Masculinity and the Anti-Aesthetics of American Literary Naturalism
John Dudley

Trade Cloth
2004. 232 pp.
978-0-8173-1347-0
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2008. 232 pp.
978-0-8173-8182-0
Price:  $39.95 d

Demonstrates how concepts of masculinity shaped the aesthetic foundations of literary naturalism.

A Man's Game explores the development of American literary naturalism as it relates to definitions of manhood in many of the movement's key texts and the aesthetic goals of writers such as Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, Charles Chestnutt, and James Weldon Johnson. John Dudley argues that in the climate of the late 19th century, when these authors were penning their major works, literary endeavors were widely viewed as frivolous, the work of ladies for ladies, who comprised the vast majority of the dependable reading public. Male writers such as Crane and Norris defined themselves and their work in contrast to this perception of literature. Women like Wharton, on the other hand, wrote out of a skeptical or hostile reaction to the expectations of them as woman writers.

Dudley explores a number of social, historical, and cultural developments that catalyzed the masculine impulse underlying literary naturalism: the rise of spectator sports and masculine athleticism; the professional role of the journalist, adopted by many male writers, allowing them to camouflage their primary role as artist; and post-Darwinian interest in the sexual component of natural selection. A Man's Game also explores the surprising adoption of a masculine literary naturalism by African-American writers at the beginning of the 20th century, a strategy, despite naturalism's emphasis on heredity and genetic determinism, that helped define the black struggle for racial equality.



 

 



John Dudley is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Dakota.
“[. . .] This book should be recommended to anyone who teaches late nineteenth and early twentieth century American Literature. [ . . .] This would be an excellent book for college and university libraries [. . .] Students will learn something about the relevance of dominant ideologies of gender in the construction of literary works, [ . . .] and teachers will gain a new perspective on these important novels.”
South Atlantic Modern Language Review

"This work makes an original and significant contribution to the field, most notably by placing naturalism in the context of the era's obsession with organized sports and games, especially as they reflected principles of Darwinism, physical culture, and race theory."
—Donna Campbell, author of Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1919

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