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Strange Bodies: Gender and Identity in the Novels of Carson McCullers

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Adapts Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, as well as the latest in gender and psychoanalytic theory, to the major works of acclaimed southern writer Carson McCullers. This innovative reconsideration of the themes of Carson McCullers's fiction argues that her work has heretofore suffered under the pall of narrow gothic interpretations, obscuring a more subversive a Adapts Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, as well as the latest in gender and psychoanalytic theory, to the major works of acclaimed southern writer Carson McCullers. This innovative reconsideration of the themes of Carson McCullers's fiction argues that her work has heretofore suffered under the pall of narrow gothic interpretations, obscuring a more subversive agenda. By examining McCullersOCOs major novelsOCo"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, " and "The Ballad of the Sad Caf(r)"OCoGleeson-White locates a radical and specific form of the grotesque in the author's fiction: the liberating and redemptive possibilities of errant gender roles and shifting sexuality. She does this by employing Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, which is both affirming and revolutionary, and thereby moves McCullers's texts beyond the 'gloom and doom' with which they have been charged for over fifty years. The first chapter explores female adolescence by focusing on McCullers's tomboys in the context of oppressive southern womanhood. The second chapter analyzes McCullers's fascinating struggle to depict homosexual desire outside of traditional stereotypes. Gleeson-White then examines McCullers's portrayals of feminine and masculine gender through the tropes of cross-dressing, transvestism, and masquerade. The final chapter takes issue with earlier readings of androgyny in the texts to suggest a more useful concept McCullers herself called the hybrid. Underpinning the whole study is the idea of a provocative, dynamic form of the grotesque that challenges traditional categories of normal and abnormal. Because the characters and themes of McCullers's fiction were created in the 1940s and 1950s, a time of tension between the changing status of women and the southern ideal of womanhood, they are particularly fertile ground for a modern reexamination of this nature. Gleeson-White's study will be valued by scholars of American literature and gender and queer studies, by students of psychology, by academic libraries, and by readers of Carson McCullers. Strange Bodies is a thoughtful, highly credible analysis that adds dimension to the study of southern literature. "


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Adapts Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, as well as the latest in gender and psychoanalytic theory, to the major works of acclaimed southern writer Carson McCullers. This innovative reconsideration of the themes of Carson McCullers's fiction argues that her work has heretofore suffered under the pall of narrow gothic interpretations, obscuring a more subversive a Adapts Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, as well as the latest in gender and psychoanalytic theory, to the major works of acclaimed southern writer Carson McCullers. This innovative reconsideration of the themes of Carson McCullers's fiction argues that her work has heretofore suffered under the pall of narrow gothic interpretations, obscuring a more subversive agenda. By examining McCullersOCOs major novelsOCo"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, " and "The Ballad of the Sad Caf(r)"OCoGleeson-White locates a radical and specific form of the grotesque in the author's fiction: the liberating and redemptive possibilities of errant gender roles and shifting sexuality. She does this by employing Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque, which is both affirming and revolutionary, and thereby moves McCullers's texts beyond the 'gloom and doom' with which they have been charged for over fifty years. The first chapter explores female adolescence by focusing on McCullers's tomboys in the context of oppressive southern womanhood. The second chapter analyzes McCullers's fascinating struggle to depict homosexual desire outside of traditional stereotypes. Gleeson-White then examines McCullers's portrayals of feminine and masculine gender through the tropes of cross-dressing, transvestism, and masquerade. The final chapter takes issue with earlier readings of androgyny in the texts to suggest a more useful concept McCullers herself called the hybrid. Underpinning the whole study is the idea of a provocative, dynamic form of the grotesque that challenges traditional categories of normal and abnormal. Because the characters and themes of McCullers's fiction were created in the 1940s and 1950s, a time of tension between the changing status of women and the southern ideal of womanhood, they are particularly fertile ground for a modern reexamination of this nature. Gleeson-White's study will be valued by scholars of American literature and gender and queer studies, by students of psychology, by academic libraries, and by readers of Carson McCullers. Strange Bodies is a thoughtful, highly credible analysis that adds dimension to the study of southern literature. "

33 review for Strange Bodies: Gender and Identity in the Novels of Carson McCullers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Graves

    This is a really fantastic book--sadly out of print, it seems--about the gender and sexuality issues explored in the works of Carson McCullers. Gleeson-White couches it all in terms of Bahktin's idea of the grotesque as well as McCullers' notion of the freak. If you are a fan of McCullers, I recommend this book. This is a really fantastic book--sadly out of print, it seems--about the gender and sexuality issues explored in the works of Carson McCullers. Gleeson-White couches it all in terms of Bahktin's idea of the grotesque as well as McCullers' notion of the freak. If you are a fan of McCullers, I recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen Davis

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  4. 5 out of 5

    renee

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bess

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Ryan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Estes

  14. 5 out of 5

    Virg

  15. 4 out of 5

    Univofalpress

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shaheera

  17. 4 out of 5

    Moira Russell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 5 out of 5

    saartje

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kait

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tammie Pierce

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  28. 4 out of 5

    ficulyus

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  30. 4 out of 5

    H├ęctor Alvarado

  31. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  32. 4 out of 5

    Stine Mulbjerg

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sangeetha

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