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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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Works Cited 245

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245 Works Cited Michael Chabon Chabon, Michael. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988. Print. —. Wonder Boys. 1995. London: Fourth Estate, 2000. Print. —. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. London: Fourth Estate, 2000. Print. —. Summerland. New York: Miramax Books; Hyperion Books for Children, 2002. Print. —. The Final Solution. London: Fourth Estate, 2005. Print. Web. 13 July 2012. Tom Wolfe Wolfe, Tom. Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. 1970. New York: Bantam Books, 1971. Print. —. The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Print. —. The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. London: Pan Books, 1981. Print. —. The Bonfire of the Vanities. London: Jonathan Cape, 1988. Print. —. “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast.” Harpers Magazine 279.1674 (1989): 45–56. Print. —. “Tom Wolfe Examines Why ‘the New Left Disappeared’.” Con- versation with Tom Wolfe. Ed. Dorothy M. Scura. Literary Con- versations Series. Jackson and London: University Press of Mis- sissippi, 1990. 111–114. Print. 246 —. Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine. 1976. London: Pica- dor, 1990. Print. —. The Right Stuff. London: Picador, 1990. Print. —. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. London: Black Swan, 1989. 1997. Print. —. A Man in Full. London: Jonathan Cape, 1998. Print. Secondary Works Cited Alsop, Rachel, Annette Fitzsimons, and Kathleen Lennon. Theorizing Gender. Cambridge: Polity, 2002. Print. Alter, Jonathan. “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” Washington Monthly 20.2 (1988): 42–45. Print. Anaya, Rudolfo. “La Llorona, El Kookooee, and Sexuality.” The Bi- lingual Review/La Revistal Bilingue 17.1 (1992): 50–55. Print. Andrews, James. “What the Dickens! Tom Wolfe Has Written a New York Novel...

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