Republican Machines
  • David Greven


Men Beyond Desire: Manhood, Sex, and Violation in American Literature examines the emergence of an idiosyncratic figure in nineteenth-century American writing: the sexually and emotionally unavailable male, resolutely ungraspable, elusive, a hermetically sealed vessel of chastity and purity.


Gender Identity Sexual Desire Sexual Identity Compulsor Sexual Practice American Literature 
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  1. 1.
    As Dana Nelson puts it, the discord and disruption inherent in any democratic model are “soothingly covered over by national self-sameness and unity, and embodied by the national executive. This a virtual (abstracted, imagined) fraternity, where the discomfiting actuality of fraternal disagreement disappears in the singular body of the President” (34). In the early republic, “European immigrants … were increasingly regarded with suspicion, as sources of contamination of the ‘democratic’ spirit” (37). See Nelson’s National Manhood: Capitalist Citizenship and the Imagined Fraternity of White Men (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1998). This anti-European and newly nativist sensibility seeped into manhood as a social category, increasingly reimagined as a decisive break with European decadence. In this regard, I use Jackson as “the symbol of an age”—Jackson both embodied and emboldened this increasingly rapid antebellum reimagining of American manhood, even as he became the conduit through which competing ideologies coursed. Inviolate manhood, I argue, is a category of gendered identity that allows men in the fiction of antebellum, among other periods, authors to negotiate the competing, rising ideologies of Jacksonian self-made manhood, on the one hand, and reproductive capitalist citizenship, on the other.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
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  4. Editors Mary Chapman and Glenn Hendler’s collection Sentimental Men: Masculinity and the Politics of Affect in American Culture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), provides a salient overview of the myriad social and cultural dynamics of antebellum masculinity and affect.Google Scholar
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© David Greven 2005

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  • David Greven

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