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Queer Chivalry : Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern Literature

By: Pugh, Tison.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Southern Literary Studies: Publisher: Baton Rouge : LSU Press, 2013Description: 1 online resource (237 p.).ISBN: 9780807151853.Subject(s): American literature -- Southern States -- History and criticism | Chivalry in literature | Homosexuality in literature | Masculinity in literature | Middle Ages in literature | Southern States -- In literature | Southern States -- Intellectual lifeGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Queer Chivalry : Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern LiteratureDDC classification: 810.9/975 | 810.9975 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; 1 Introduction: Southern History, Mythic White Masculinity, and Queering the Medieval Chivalric Ideal; 2 Dialectical History, White Indians, and Queer Anxiety in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; 3 Medieval Masculinity, Southern Chivalry, and Redemptive Homosexuality in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction; 4 "It's prolly fulla dirty stories": Queer Masculinity and Masturbatory Allegory in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces
5 "I am the Lost Cause": Queer History, the Southern Phallus, and the Quest for Medieval Timelessness in Robert Penn Warren's A Place to Come To6 "The Sir Walter Disease" and Queer Quests for Masculinity in Walker Percy's Novels; 7 Conclusion: Ellen Gilchrist's The Annunciation and the Queer Future of Chivalric Masculinities; Notes; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y; Z
Summary: For the U.S. South, the myth of chivalric masculinity dominates the cultural and historical landscape. Visions of white southern men as archetypes of honor and gentility run throughout regional narratives with little regard for the actions and, at times, the atrocities committed by such men. In Queer Chivalry, Tison Pugh exposes the inherent contradictions in these depictions of cavalier manhood, investigating the foundations of southern gallantry as a reincarnated and reauthorized version of medieval masculinity. Pugh argues that the idea of masculinity -- particularly as seen in works by prominent southern authors from Mark Twain to Ellen Gilchrist -- constitutes a cultural myth that queerly demarcates accepted norms of manliness, often by displaying the impossibility of its achievement. Beginning with Twain''s famous critique of "the Sir Walter disease" that pilloried the South, Pugh focuses on authors who questioned the code of chivalry by creating protagonists whose quests for personal knighthood prove quixotic. Through detailed readings of major works -- including Twain''s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur''s Court, Flannery O''Connor''s short fiction, John Kennedy Toole''s A Confederacy of Dunces, Robert Penn Warren''s A Place to Come To, Walker Percy''s novels, and Gilchrist''s The Annunciation -- Pugh demonstrates that the hypermasculinity of white-knight ideals only draws attention to the ambiguous gender of the literary southern male.Employing insights from gender and psychoanalytic theory, Queer Chivalry contributes to recent critical discussions of the cloaked anxieties about gender and sexuality in southern literature. Ultimately, Pugh uncovers queer limits in the cavalier mythos, showing how facts and fictions contributed to the ideological formulation of the South.
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Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; 1 Introduction: Southern History, Mythic White Masculinity, and Queering the Medieval Chivalric Ideal; 2 Dialectical History, White Indians, and Queer Anxiety in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; 3 Medieval Masculinity, Southern Chivalry, and Redemptive Homosexuality in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction; 4 "It's prolly fulla dirty stories": Queer Masculinity and Masturbatory Allegory in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces

5 "I am the Lost Cause": Queer History, the Southern Phallus, and the Quest for Medieval Timelessness in Robert Penn Warren's A Place to Come To6 "The Sir Walter Disease" and Queer Quests for Masculinity in Walker Percy's Novels; 7 Conclusion: Ellen Gilchrist's The Annunciation and the Queer Future of Chivalric Masculinities; Notes; Bibliography; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y; Z

For the U.S. South, the myth of chivalric masculinity dominates the cultural and historical landscape. Visions of white southern men as archetypes of honor and gentility run throughout regional narratives with little regard for the actions and, at times, the atrocities committed by such men. In Queer Chivalry, Tison Pugh exposes the inherent contradictions in these depictions of cavalier manhood, investigating the foundations of southern gallantry as a reincarnated and reauthorized version of medieval masculinity. Pugh argues that the idea of masculinity -- particularly as seen in works by prominent southern authors from Mark Twain to Ellen Gilchrist -- constitutes a cultural myth that queerly demarcates accepted norms of manliness, often by displaying the impossibility of its achievement. Beginning with Twain''s famous critique of "the Sir Walter disease" that pilloried the South, Pugh focuses on authors who questioned the code of chivalry by creating protagonists whose quests for personal knighthood prove quixotic. Through detailed readings of major works -- including Twain''s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur''s Court, Flannery O''Connor''s short fiction, John Kennedy Toole''s A Confederacy of Dunces, Robert Penn Warren''s A Place to Come To, Walker Percy''s novels, and Gilchrist''s The Annunciation -- Pugh demonstrates that the hypermasculinity of white-knight ideals only draws attention to the ambiguous gender of the literary southern male.Employing insights from gender and psychoanalytic theory, Queer Chivalry contributes to recent critical discussions of the cloaked anxieties about gender and sexuality in southern literature. Ultimately, Pugh uncovers queer limits in the cavalier mythos, showing how facts and fictions contributed to the ideological formulation of the South.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Pugh (Univ. of Central Florida) emphasizes the "enduring legacy" of the South's cavalier mythology by studying masculinity in works by six writers. According to Pugh, queer theory exposes the "subversive potential" in "the gaps among history, myth, and literature." Twain reflects an awareness of such gaps in allusions to the "Sir Walter disease," which he satirizes in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Describing "redemptive homosexuality" in Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away, Pugh argues that "the journey to salvation takes place where one might least expect it." In John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces, "masturbatory and medieval allegories" are central to Ignatius Reilly's New Orleans "crusades." Robert Penn Warren's A Place to Come To shows just how deeply Warren was troubled by "the devolution of the chivalric ideal from masculine honor to racist violence." "Chivalric masculinity" is also "crippling" in Walker Percy's novels about the "spiritual malaise of the U. S. South." Pugh's final chapter looks to the "queer future of chivalric masculinities" with a brief survey of Gilchrist's The Annunciation, which "considers the meaning of quests for southern women." Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. W. Hall University of Mississippi

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p>Tison Pugh is the author of Innocence, Heterosexuality, and the Queerness of Children's Literature; Sexuality and Its Queer Discontents in Middle English Literature; and Queering Medieval Genres. He is a professor of English at the University of Central Florida, where he specializes in medieval, children's, and southern literature.</p>

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