In James Jones: The Limits of Eternity, literary scholar Tony J. Williams examines the significance of Jones’s work not only for its nuance and daring subject matter but also for its widespread popularity. In his assessment of Jones’s catalog, Williams reveals an incisive novelist who offered groundbreaking interpretations of masculinity, sexuality, gender, and identity. Williams contends that Jones should be recognized as far more than just a popular war novelist, but also as a humanitarian and literary pioneer, particularly in probing gender and queer issues.
A quintessentially American novelist, Jones was never afraid to look openly at the flaws of his society, examine how it could adversely affect individual victims, and tacitly suggest possible alternatives. He recognized the presence of gays and lesbians in American culture during an overtly repressive time, which makes his work relevant to many areas of contemporary criticism. Demonstrating his significant contribution to contemporary American literature, James Jones: The Limits of Eternity will be of interest to scholars of war narratives, gender studies, and literary studies.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface: In the Beginning ix
1 From Here to Eternity: The Lure of Reincarnation and the Dominance of History 1
2 The Illusion of Transcendence in Some Came Running 43
3 Prelude to War and Beyond: The Pistol and The Thin Red Line 87
4 Masculinity and its Discontents: Go to the Widow-Maker 115
5 Two Novels of Generation Crisis: The Merry Month of May and A Touch of Danger 141
6 Concepts of War Past and Present: WWII and Viet Journal 175
7 Whistle: The End of it All 197
Conclusion: Beyond Eternity into History 225
Epilogue: Why James Jones Is Important for Us Today 229
About the Author 273