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A Dangerous Fiction

Subverting Hegemonic Masculinity through the Novels of Michael Chabon and Tom Wolfe

Louise Colbran

Masculinity is one of the key issues at stake in contemporary writing and gender studies. In their novels, Michael Chabon and Tom Wolfe both consistently make masculinity a prominent thematic and ideological concern. This study is the first full length scholarly work to take their work and their treatment of masculinity as its focus. How do these American authors critique the representation of masculinity within popular culture in Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Summerland, A Man in Full and The Bonfire of the Vanities? How do popular images of masculinity function for individual men and the way they experience their masculinities?
A Dangerous Fiction investigates the ways in which Chabon and Wolfe strip masculinity of any illusion of an essential nature and expose it as something highly culturally dependent and explains how these novels suggest to understand masculinity in the contemporary world.


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Acknowledgements 7


7 Acknowledgements I would like to thank the English Department at Macquarie University for their encouragement and provision of a stimulating university en- vironment. In particular, I would like to thank Prof. Antonina Harbus and Prof. Marea Mitchell for their support and guidance over the years. I am very grateful for all of the advice and assistance that I have received. Many thanks, too, to Dr. Rosemary Colmer and Dr. Geoff Payne, who have both extended constant support, careful advice and inspiring conversation. On a personal note, I would also like to thank my family and friends, who have always been a source of encouragement. I owe spe- cial thanks to my parents for their unwavering support. I also extend my gratitude to the staff at Peter Lang, Switzerland, for the help they have offered in the preparation of this book. In par- ticular, I thank Martina Räber and Katrin Forrer for their assistance in making this book possible. Finally, I would like to thank Cambridge Scholars Publishing and Aethlon for allowing me to use previously published material in this book. Chapter Five incorporates material that was published in the book chapter, “The Grand Illusion: Hegemonic Masculinity as Escap- ism in Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Wonder Boys” from Remaking Literary History. Eds. Helen Groth and Paul Sheehan. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Pub- lishing, 2010. It is published with the permission of Cambridge Schol- ars Publishing. Chapter Two also incorporates material that was pub-...

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