The fragility of manhood: Hawthorne, Freud and the politics of gender
David Greven’s The Fragility of Manhood: Hawthorne, Freud and the Politics of Gender follows on from his work in Men Beyond Desire: Manhood, Sex, and Violation in American Literature (2005) to revise our understanding of how gender functions in nineteenth-century literature in much more complicated ways than proposed by the now superannuated notion of separate spheres. Greven aims, specifically, to bring the analytic frameworks developing in queer theory to bear on this body of literature, building on work by critics such as Robert K. Martin, Christopher Castiglia, Scott Derrick, and others. In The Fragility of Manhood, Greven has two projects that he wants to develop by focusing on minor and major fictions by Hawthorne. The psychoanalytic part of this project contributes to the ongoing recuperation of the concept of narcissism from the versions of Freudianism that associated it with femininity and homosexuality as inferior and pathological subject positions. To do so, Greven recalls...
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