"Sumptuous, elegant, nuanced, and accessible, Greg Forter helps us to remember what language can do. But Forter minces more than words in Murdering Masculinities. He offers a transformative reading of American crime fiction, arguing that it is not to high modernism that we should look for the reinvention of gender, but rather to authors like James Cain, Chester Himes, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, and in particular William Faulkner."
Though American crime novels are often derided for containing misogynistic attitudes and limiting ideas of masculinity, Greg Forter maintains that they are instead psychologically complex and sophisticated works that demand closer attention. Eschewing the synthetic methodologies of earlier work on crime fiction, Murdering Masculinities argues that the crime novel does not provide a consolidated and stable notion of masculinity. Rather, it demands that male readers take responsibility for the desires they project on to these novels.
Forter examines the narrative strategies of five novelsHammett's The Glass Key, Cain's Serenade, Faulkner's Sanctuary, Thompson's Pop. 1280, and Himes's Blind Man with a Pistolin conjunction with their treatment of bodily metaphors of smell, vision, and voice. In the process, Forter unearths a "generic unconscious" that reveals things Freud both discovered and sought to repress.
Author Biography: Greg Forter teaches American Literature at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.