Gothic Masculinity: Effeminacy and the Supernatural in English and German Romanticism


"Cultural and individual fantasies of masculinity enter troubling terrain in gothic tales of British and German Romanticism. In the interiority of dreams and visionary spaces, a male protagonist makes a fateful encounter with a supernaturalized force and finds himself dispossessed of his real and symbolic masculine estate. Emphasizing the interdisciplinary range of this recurring motif, Ellen Brinks traces "distressed masculinity" in canonical instances of gothic imagination - Byron's Oriental Tales and Coleridge's Christabel - but also in works such as Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, Keats's Hyperion fragments, and Freud's letters and scientific writings. Gothic tropes and tableaux of the effeminizing supernatural cross a range of genres and perplex social and "natural" distinctions concerning masculinity and male sexuality to produce multiple, often contradictory, identifications. They report, from various sites, increasing anxieties about male effeminacy or the emergence of a male "homosexual" identity within the fraught cultural desires during the Romantic period and its Freudian afterlife. An elegant and compelling account of the construction of sex and gender in the Gothic, Gothic Masculinity will be of interest to scholars of sexuality, gender, queer theory, Romantic subjectivity, and the German and English Gothic." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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