Normal view MARC view ISBD view

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

By: Gleeson-White, Sarah.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Publisher: Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 2010Description: 1 online resource (177 p.).ISBN: 9780817382810.Subject(s): Body, Human, in literature | Gender identity in literature | Identity (Psychology) in literature | Psychological fiction, American - History and criticism | Southern States -- In literature.McCullers, Carson, -- 1917-1967 -- Criticism and interpretation.Identity (Psychology) in literature. -- Gender identity in literature.Psychological fiction, American - | Women and literature - Southern States - History - 20th centuryGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Strange Bodies : Gender and Identity in the Novels of Carson McCullersDDC classification: 813.52 | 813/.52 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Carson McCullers and the Grotesque; 1. Freakish Adolescents: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding; 2. Queer Grotesques: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Reflections in a Golden Eye; 3. The Masquerade: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Café; 4. Two Bodies in One: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Ballad of the Sad Café; Conclusion: Final Thoughts on the Grotesque; Critical Survey: McCullers and the Southern Grotesque; Notes; Works Cited; Index
Summary: 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 McCullers's major novels-The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Café-Gleeson-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.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PS3525 | PS3525.A17 | PS3525.A1772Z635 2003 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=454549 Available EBL454549

Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Carson McCullers and the Grotesque; 1. Freakish Adolescents: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding; 2. Queer Grotesques: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Reflections in a Golden Eye; 3. The Masquerade: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Café; 4. Two Bodies in One: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Ballad of the Sad Café; Conclusion: Final Thoughts on the Grotesque; Critical Survey: McCullers and the Southern Grotesque; Notes; Works Cited; Index

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 McCullers's major novels-The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Café-Gleeson-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.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

The sexually complicated characters who began appearing in Carson McCullers' fiction in 1940 might have been made to order for gender critics, but Gleeson-White (independent scholar) is the first to give them the full gender-studies treatment. Taking some cues from Louise Westling's feminist readings of McCullers' "grotesques" (in Sacred Groves and Ravaged Gardens, CH, Nov'85) and drawing heavily from Mikhail Bakhtin's theories of the grotesque (especially in Rabelais and His World, Eng. tr., CH, Jan'69), Gleeson-White examines the "emancipatory and empowering potential" of McCullers' "transgressive vision" of "errant gender and sexuality." She focuses on "freakish adolescents" dealing with pubescent development, "queer grotesques" grappling with forbidden desires, cross-dressers living out their masquerades, and androgynes creating carnivalesque hybrids--all in ample supply in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Through such characters, Gleeson-White says, McCullers "provides a portrait of human activity considered as an unfolding of possibility, even if at times such a process may be painful and subject to compromise." Unfortunately, the book's organization necessitates endless recycling of the same key passages to support new points. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. A. J. Griffith Our Lady of the Lake University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Sarah Gleeson-White is Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney.

There are no comments for this item.

Log in to your account to post a comment.