By James Penner
Pinks, Pansies, and Punks charts the development of masculinity inside American literary tradition from the Nineteen Thirties to the Seventies. Penner files the emergence of "macho criticism," and explores how debates approximately "hard" and "soft" masculinity prompted the category struggles of the Nineteen Thirties, anti-communism within the Nineteen Forties and Nineteen Fifties, and the conflict among the previous Left and the recent Left within the Nineteen Sixties. through extending literary tradition to incorporate not only novels, performs, and poetry, yet diaries, journals, manifestos, screenplays, and essays on psychology and sociology, Penner unveils the multiplicity of gender attitudes that emerge in all of the many years he addresses. (2011)
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Additional info for Pinks, Pansies, and Punks: The Rhetoric of Masculinity in American Literary Culture
At the beginning of my project, I examined various forms of hypermasculinity; I was interested in analyzing how hypermasculinity is represented in literary texts and in the broader world of literary culture (especially literary fights and attacks). While doing this research, I encountered Susan Jeffords’s The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Viet Nam War (1989). Jeffords’s important study examines how Hollywood filmmakers of the Reagan era reimagined masculine identity through the lens of the Vietnam conflict and how 18 Pinks, Pansies, and Punks masculinity was central to mythic constructions of nationalism.
My study also contrasts American Jewish critics with non-Jewish critics (Malcolm Cowley, Granville Hicks, T. S. Eliot, John Crowe Ransom) who present their own particular brand of literary machismo. This project also examines how African American literature reproduces the rhetoric of the hard/soft binary. In the 1930s, Richard Wright’s “Blueprint for Negro Writing” (1937) scorned the effete writing of the Harlem Renaissance and endorsed social realism, the preferred genre of hard writers. ” My conception of softness has two distinct sources: the Dionysian feminine and the mythic cultural feminine.
317) Van Dyke’s passage contains many salient genteel attitudes. Since Van Dyke was also worried about the perils of too much leisure culture, he recommends outdoor activities, vigorous sport, and fruitful labor. The chaste ideal (“love one woman”) is offered as an antidote to fin de siècle degeneracy. The genteel tradition was con- “Healthy Nerves and Sturdy Physiques” 35 cerned with promoting religious beliefs (“Some One wiser and better than you is governing the universe”), but also the notion that literature should be essentially optimistic: whenever possible, it should avoid philosophical pessimism and skepticism.