By James Penner
Pinks, Pansies, and Punks charts the development of masculinity inside of American literary tradition from the Nineteen Thirties to the Seventies. Penner records the emergence of "macho criticism," and explores how debates approximately "hard" and "soft" masculinity inspired the category struggles of the Thirties, anti-communism within the Nineteen Forties and Nineteen Fifties, and the conflict among the outdated Left and the recent Left within the Nineteen Sixties. through extending literary tradition to incorporate not only novels, performs, and poetry, yet diaries, journals, manifestos, screenplays, and essays on psychology and sociology, Penner unveils the multiplicity of gender attitudes that emerge in all of the many years he addresses. (2011)
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His celebration of the affective dimension of literature and his emphasis on the primacy of feeling in the act of poetic creation are essential to the soft masculinities that emerge in the 1950s and 1960s. For these reasons, he is often seen as the crucial link between the Beats and the hippies. The final twist in the genealogy of alternative masculinities is the mythic cultural feminine’s association with mutability. Otto Weininger was obsessed with the idea that femininity is necessarily linked to mutability and that this particular association can explain the differences between the sexes.
For Lewis, Theodore Dreiser is the chief opponent of 36 Pinks, Pansies, and Punks the genteel tradition: “Dreiser, more than any other man, marching alone, usually unappreciated, often hated, has cleared the trail from Victorian and Howellsian timidity and gentility in American fiction to honesty and boldness and passion of life” (7). For my gender analysis, Dreiser is a key figure because his crude subject matter and his cumbersome prose style are interpreted as distinctly anti-genteel and, for many readers, as the antithesis of leisure-culture refinement.
The femininity comprises those qualities that I have shown to be in total opposition to masculinity. . and the manliest Jew may be taken for a female” (409). ”14 Weininger, a self-hating Jew, represents a hyperbolic point of view. However, his paranoid perspective demonstrates that the cultural association of Jewishness with femininity was a popular obsession in certain European cultural 12 Pinks, Pansies, and Punks milieus at the turn of the twentieth century. 15 In Tough Jews: Political Fantasies and the Moral Dilemma of American Jewry (1990), Paul Breines discusses the link of Jewishness and effeminacy in relation to American culture in the twentieth century.
Pinks, Pansies, and Punks: The Rhetoric of Masculinity in American Literary Culture by James Penner
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