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By Katherine V. Snyder

ISBN-10: 051100642X

ISBN-13: 9780511006425

ISBN-10: 0521650461

ISBN-13: 9780521650465

Katherine Snyder's learn explores the importance of the bachelor narrator, a normal yet little famous determine in premodernist and modernist fiction by means of male authors, together with Hawthorne, James, Conrad, Ford, and Fitzgerald. Snyder demonstrates that bachelors functioned in cultural and literary discourse as threshold figures who, by way of crossing the moving, permeable barriers of bourgeois domesticity, highlighted the boundaries of traditional masculinity. by means of getting to the gendered identities and kinfolk at factor in those narratives, Snyder's learn discloses the cultured and political underpinnings of the conventional canon of English and American modernism.

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Sample text

The nonproductive, pleasure-driven, and self-oriented qualities of masturbation were thought to constitute a serious danger, a material and moral drain on a finite, bodily ‘‘spermatic economy’’ as well as a drain on the domestic economies of the nation, race, and class. ’’⁵⁵ First diagnosed in , spermatorrhea came in the later nineteenth century to be associated with neurasthenia and other forms of nervous exhaustion that seemed to plague the urban business classes. Thought to deplete the male body of its limited supply of vital forces, spermatorrhea was represented by many legitimate physicians as well as quacks as a scourge that would result in consumption, epilepsy, insanity, feeble-mindedness, or death, unless nipped in the bud.

These three ‘‘nonfiction’’ pieces make their taxonomizing particularly explicit, although similar and disparate taxonomies implicitly obtain in other examples and other genres. While certain motifs appear throughout the period, there is no clear pattern, no clear sense of continuity or development across time. This lack of clarity results in part from the same taxonomic labels, such as ‘‘misogynist’’ or ‘‘sentimental,’’ being used to describe different traits; to indicate cause or effect; to defend bachelorhood or to mark it as indefensible.

Briggs, Bangs, and Brown. ’’ In that story, it is the bachelor who is disturbed by the landlady’s audible merrymaking, whereas here it is the landlady who complains about the bachelors’ noise. In the first story, the bachelor seeks true domesticity with a wife, whereas here the bachelors seek only to escape the dangerous effects of their riotous behavior, with no promise, implicit or explicit, of domestic reform. Yet both pieces are cautionary tales. Baching it proves dangerous to the well-being of these bachelors, the differences in the outcome of their stories notwithstanding.

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Bachelors, Manhood, and the Novel, 1850-1925 by Katherine V. Snyder


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