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Urban versus rural in City Slickers and Hunter’s Blood

This chapter builds on my previous interests in the cinematic countryside and in constructions of urban and rural masculinities (Bell, 1997 ; 2000 ). It seeks to make a modest contribution to the growing body of work on gender and the rural, and more specifically on the relationships between rurality and masculinity (for an overview, see Little, 2002 ). My aim (to borrow from Rachel

in Cinematic countrysides

career to date (the 1980s and 1990s), focus thematically and generically upon male relationships and foreground certain male actors (Jean Rochefort, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo) in such a way as to contribute to, exploit or skew their existing star images. In his choice of generic mode, cast and subject matter, Leconte puts masculinity relentlessly on display. It is my contention that Leconte’s films demonstrate ways

in Patrice Leconte

This article considers the allusions to classical statuary in Matthew G. Lewis’s novel The Monk (1796) and his Journal of a West India Proprietor Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica (1816). Drawing on John Barrell’s account of civic discourse on the fine arts after Shaftesbury, I explain and contextualise the centrality of the Venus de’ Medici statue to Lewis’s representations of male desire and male virtue. Images of Venus, both in The Monk and in the Journal, function as tests of civic virtue and articulate the conditions of Lewis’s entitlement to hold and govern slaves in Jamaica. Lewis’s colonial inheritance underpins the narratives of desire in The Monk, and inflects his authorship more generally.

Gothic Studies

rightwing discourses relating to France’s postcolonial others continue to encapsulate the fears and anxieties of the majority white population, the representations of such marginalised masculinities are of crucial significance. Like the first beur films of the 1980s and most of the banlieue films of 1995, La Haine foregrounds a group of disaffected, unemployed working-class youths at an age when they would normally aspire to adult masculinity

in Reframing difference
Masculinity and Perversity in Crash and Fight Club

This article considers two evocations of the Gothic in contemporary film that link the popular recurrence of Gothic conventions to contemporary constructions of perversity and masculinity. Crash (1996) and Fight Club (1999) intersect themes of masculine perversity with the Gothic, giving substantially new life to discourses surrounding a ‘crisis in masculinity’ at the turn of the twentieth century. The relationship between the Gothic and masculinity is considered in relation to themes surrounding the corporeal, psychological and social ‘perversities’ in the two films.

Gothic Studies
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Homosocial Sins and Identity in Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto

Readings of William Beckford‘s novel Vathek suggest it encodes homoerotic desire and suspect masculinity in its themes and narrative structure when read alongside the life of the author. Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto can be read with the same methodology. The narratives of identity reversal, both gender and social, and its tropes of hyperbolic masculinity as sources of fear are interpreted according to the central importance gender has for understanding Walpole‘s conception of his sexuality. The novel exhibits a fear of gossip and rumour over identity, which may be related to a fear of public exposure of homoerotic desire as it is (mis)understood in terms of same-sex practice between men.

Gothic Studies

In Alien3 Lt Ellen Ripley finds herself in a nightmare scenario. She has crash-landed on an abandoned prison planet, ‘Fury 161’, surrounded by a remnant of the inmate population (twenty-five prisoners, a medical officer and two administrators who have opted to remain in a care-taking capacity after the prison/refinery was closed). The prisoners are a violent group of rapists and murderers with double-y chromosome coding, who can only seem to control their excessive expressions of masculinity by fanatically embracing a fundamentalist religion. Ripley sums up the group as ‘a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space’. On one level, this setting begs for a story of male homosexuality: an all-male prison planet filled with sexual aggressors could be the recipe for a gay male porn classic. Instead, it becomes a tale of excessive masculinity manifested through heterosexual fears and desires. I want to take this discrepancy between homo-possibilities and hetero-manifestations as my point of departure to explore how Alien3s engagement with the Gothic diverts and expresses anxieties about queer masculinity, desire, and sexuality.

Gothic Studies
Open Access (free)

The author reviews Barry Jenkins’s 2018 film adaptation of Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, finding that Jenkins’s lush, painterly, and dreamlike visual style successfully translates Baldwin’s cadenced prose into cinematic language. But in interpreting the novel as the “perfect fusion” of the anger of Baldwin’s essays and the sensuality of his fiction, Jenkins overlooks the novel’s most significant aspect, its gender politics. Baldwin began working on If Beale Street Could Talk shortly after being interviewed by Black Arts poet Nikki Giovanni for the PBS television show, Soul!. Giovanni’s rejection of Baldwin’s claims that for black men to overcome the injuries of white supremacy they needed to fulfill the breadwinner role prompted him to rethink his understanding of African American manhood and deeply influenced his representation of the novel’s black male characters. The novel aims to disarticulate black masculinity from patriarchy. Jenkins’s misunderstanding of this aspect of the novel surfaces in his treatment of the character of Frank, who in the novel serves as an example of the destructiveness of patriarchal masculinity, and in his rewriting of the novel’s ending.

James Baldwin Review
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Surveying Gender in Pat Barker‘s Fiction

This article examines Pat Barker‘s novel Another World (1998) in order to argue that it portrays the masculine subject as precarious and unstable. This is linked to the novels regional setting, in which traditional ‘heavy’ industries such as armaments manufacturing are in decline, thus depriving men of an authoritative public and private role. Viewed from the perspective of postfeminism, this might be regarded as a sign that male (and female) roles can be renegotiated in order to achieve greater gender equality. However, Barker‘s frequent references to Gothic texts renders this crisis sinister and uncanny. This paper uses references to Nicolas Abraham‘s essay ‘Notes on the Phantom’ in order to assert that Another World‘s preoccupation with murder and haunting reveals a compulsive desire to cover up this sense of ‘lack’ that Barker implies characterises modern masculine subjectivity.

Gothic Studies
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Supernatural Masculinity in Gothic Fiction

Applying Butler‘s gender performance theory and critiquing authoritative philosophical discourse on the sublime, the essay examines the Gothic sublime as phantasmatic masculine drag. Focusing on Walpole‘s flamboyant flouting of Longinus‘s rhetorical prescriptions, the essay also explores how The Castle ofOtrantos fictional progeny continue to drag sublimity into Gothic drag king performances.

Gothic Studies