Freaks in Late Modernist American Culture: Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Tod Browning, and Carson McCullers

Freaks in Late Modernist American Culture: Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Tod Browning, and Carson McCullers

by Nancy M. Bombaci
     
 

ISBN-10: 0820478326

ISBN-13: 9780820478326

Pub. Date: 01/28/2006

Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Freaks in Late Modernist American Culture explores the emergence of what Nancy Bombaci terms «late modernist freakish aesthetics» - a creative fusion of «high» and «low» themes and forms in relation to distorted bodies. Literary and cinematic texts about «freaks» by Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Tod Browning,

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Overview

Freaks in Late Modernist American Culture explores the emergence of what Nancy Bombaci terms «late modernist freakish aesthetics» - a creative fusion of «high» and «low» themes and forms in relation to distorted bodies. Literary and cinematic texts about «freaks» by Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Tod Browning, and Carson McCullers subvert and reinvent modern progress narratives in order to challenge high modernist literary and social ideologies. These works are marked by an acceptance of the disteleology, anarchy, and degeneration that racist discourses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries associated with racial and ethnic outsiders, particularly Jews. In a period of American culture beset with increasing pressures for social and political conformity and with the threat of fascism from Europe, these late modernist narratives about «freaks» defy oppressive norms and values as they search for an anarchic and transformational creativity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820478326
Publisher:
Peter Lang Publishing Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/2006
Pages:
175
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.02(d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1Degeneration, anti-Semitism, and the enfreakment of modernism9
Ch. 2Nathanael West's Aspiring freakish Flaneurs25
Ch. 3"Well of course, I used to be absolutely gorgeous, dear" : the female interviewer as subject/object in Djuna Barnes's journalism49
Ch. 4Heredity, transvestism, and the limits of self-fashioning in Nightwood65
Ch. 5Horror, melodrama, and mutable masculine identity in Tod Browning's films81
Ch. 6"This thing I long for I know not what" : Carson McCullers and the melodrama of the domesticated freak109
Conclusion : deviance, defiance, and the problem of "weirdness"133

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