Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

Overview

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 ...

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Murdering Masculinities: Fantasies of Gender and Violence in the American Crime Novel

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Overview

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 novels—Hammett's The Glass Key, Cain's Serenade, Faulkner's Sanctuary, Thompson's Pop. 1280, and Himes's Blind Man with a Pistol—in 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Murdering Masculinities makes a sophisticated, substantial contribution to contemporary debates about gender and sexuality. It pays closer, more intelligent, and more sustained attention to the crime novels it considers than has been paid them before, and it not only engages an impressive range of psychoanalytic thinkers, but contributes significantly to the development and refinement of psychoanalytic theory."

-Tim Dean,University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"Sumptuous, elegant, nuanced, and accessible, Greg Forter's Murdering Masculinities helps us to remember what language can do. But Forter minces more than words in this provocative new book. 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 the ‘low' works of authors like James Cain, Chester Himes, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, and William Faulkner."

-Kaja Silverman,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814726914
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Series: Sexual Cultures Series
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Forter teaches American Literature at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

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