Disenchanted Modernity in Robert Kroetsch’s «The Studhorse Man»

Biology and Culture; Sex and Gender; Eugenics and Contraception; Writing and Reading

by Francis Zichy (Author)
©2010 Monographs X, 247 Pages


This book undertakes a detailed reading of Robert Kroetsch’s The Studhorse Man, examining this Canadian novel in its transnational historical and socio-cultural context. Key subject headings are biology and culture, sex and gender, eugenics and contraception, writing and reading. The overarching theme is «disenchanted modernity» in the twentieth-century, the systematic displacement of the divine and natural order by a humanly ordained social regime, and by forms of social engineering that brought to bear the full force of modern science, invasively to alter the most fundamental conditions of human life. The more immediate literary frames of reference are Greek mythology, early Christian debates on the body and marriage, and the lore of the North American Aboriginal trickster, as these are deployed and alluded to in Kroetsch’s novel. In establishing the sources and contexts of The Studhorse Man, this study examines Robert Kroetsch’s early drafts of the novel, and his many notes taken and clippings assembled during its composition. An effort has been made to appeal to a wide range of general and academic readers alike by avoiding specialized jargon and adopting a cross-disciplinary approach. This book will be of interest to scholars of literature and literary theory, and of use in courses on literature and the novel, on masculinity and gender studies, and on cultural history in the twentieth century.


X, 247
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2011 (March)
Canadian Literature Canadian Fiction Cultural History Masculinity and Gender Studies
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2010. X, 247 pp.

Biographical notes

Francis Zichy (Author)

The Author: Francis Zichy received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and currently teaches English Literature, Canadian Literature, and European Literature in translation at The University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He has been a visiting professor at Rostock and Greifswald universities in Germany, and at the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary. He is the author of a short monograph, Leo Kennedy and His Works (1990), and of a number of articles, in Canadian, American, and European journals, on Canadian and American novelists, poets, and dramatists.


Title: Disenchanted Modernity in Robert Kroetsch’s «The Studhorse Man»