Cheever, “Country Husband”
Fleming, Casino Royale
Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Hamilton, Death of a Citizen. (.pdf)
Greene, Our Man in Havana
Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Kerouac, On the Road
Burroughs, Naked Lunch
Best Years of Our Lives
Panic in the Streets
Rebel Without a Cause
Kiss Me Deadly
Assorted Propaganda Films
Science Fiction Movie tba
LIT3084: MID-CENTURY MASCULINITY.
AND THE AMERICAN MALE
Cheever, “Country Husband” (reserve)
Week Two: War and repatriation
Essay: Kirby Farrell, Post-Traumatic Culture (reserve)
Film: “The Best Years of Our Lives.”
Essay, Kaja Silverman, “Male Subjectivity on the Margins.” (reserve)
Context: Men’s Adventure Magazines
Week Three: Fallout! The post-Nuclear World
Reading: Bradbury, “August 2026:
Film: Kiss Me Deadly
Context: Propaganda Films
Week Four: Containment!
Film: Panic in the Streets
Week Five: The Male Body Under Attack
Reading: Fleming, Casino Royale
Essay, Showalter, “Male Hysteria”
Week Six: The Threat of Suburbanization
Hamilton, Death of a Citizen (.pdf 14.5 mb)
Context: Argosy and True
Week Seven: All Hail Madison Avenue: Buying Masculinity
Reading: Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Context: Magazine advertisements
Week Eight: Away from the Domestic Sphere
Greene, Our Man in Havana
Context: Playboy and the Bachelor Pad
Week Nine: Street Gangs and Flit Guns
Film, Rebel Without a Cause
Week Ten: On the Margins
Reading: Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Week Eleven: Hobosexual! Kerouac’s Macho Jazz Nihilism
Reading: Kerouac, On The Road
Week Twelve: Junkie Friction
Reading: Burroughs, Naked Lunch
Essay, Bradbury, “What was Post-Modernism? The Arts in and after the Cold War.” International Affairs 71.4 (jstor)
Week Thirteen: Burroughs Continued
Essay, Eburne, “Trafficking in the Void: Burroughs, Kerouac, and the Consumption of Otherness,” Modern Fiction Studies, 41.3 (MUSE)
Week Fourteen and Fifteen: Presentations.
What is this guy thinking?
In America’s collective memory the 1950s are a time of prosperity, of innocence, of family values, and the suburban American dream. It was the image put forward in Norman Rockwell’s covers for The Saturday Evening Post, in Coca Cola ads, in T.V. shows such as “Leave it to Beaver.” But underneath this idealistic representation America was a country torn by racism, by the traumas of World War Two, by Cold War paranoia. It was also a time when gender roles were reinforced in popular culture.
This class will examine the construction and socialization of masculinity and, by proxy, femininity in a diverse texts, ranging from popular hypermasculine thrillers to best sellers to classics of the beat movement. We will also watch a variety of films. All of these texts explore different pressures of gender, aspects of culture, and functions of media. Underneath it all will be the disparity between reality and the fiction of history.
Short Paper 1
For your first short paper, I’d like you to do a “close reading” of a scene from one of the movies (or propaganda films) that we’ve watched. Through this close reading, I’d like to you to identify one of the “traumas” of masculinity: its cause, effect, and / or method of coping.
As with any close reading, you’ll need “textual evidence.” When dealing with film, consider not only the basic literary aspects (i.e. dialogue, characterization, and action), but also the basic cinematic aspects (i.e. camera work, lighting, music, cutting, etc.) in order to prove your point.
The paper is due on 2/12. 5-6 pages (1250-1500 wds), times new roman, 12 pt font, 1 inch margins and headers.