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 Featured Title
Masculinities without Men?
Female Masculinity in Twentieth-Century Fictions
J Bobby Noble  

$97.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 12/10/2003
ISBN: 9780774809962    

$36.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2004
ISBN: 9780774809979    

222 Pages

Sexuality Studies series


About the Book

ē Selected, 2003 Outstanding Academic Title, CHOICE

Conventional ideas about gender and sexuality dictate that people born with male bodies naturally possess both a manís identity and a manís right to authority. Recent scholarship in the field of gender studies, however, exposes the complex political technologies that construct gender as a supposedly unchanging biological essence with self-evident links to physicality, identity, and power. In Masculinities without Men? J Bobby Noble explores how the construction of gender was thrown into crisis during the twentieth century, resulting in a permanent rupture in the sex/gender system, and how masculinity became an unstable category, altered across time, region, social class, and ethnicity.

This groundbreaking study maps historical similarities in fictional, cultural, and representational practices between the periods of modernism and postmodernism. Noble examines nineteenth-century sexology, drama, and trial transcripts, and late twentieth-century counter-cultural fiction, popular film and documentaries, and theoretical texts. Among the works analyzed closely are texts that have been the focus of lesbian, queer, and feminist theory: Radclyffe Hallís The Well of Loneliness, Leslie Feinbergís Stone Butch Blues, and the film Boys Donít Cry. These, as Noble illustrates, make use of similar types of narratives, structures, and thematic techniques to articulate female masculinity. Also included is an exploration of Rose Tremainís Sacred Country, which has never before been studied within this context. Through a critical examination of these texts, Noble demonstrates that trans-gendered and trans-sexual masculinity began to emerge as a unique category in late twentieth-century fiction, distinct from lesbian or female masculinity.

Of interest to scholars and students with an interest in sexuality and gender studies, Masculinities without Men? also makes a vital contribution to literary criticism, as well as to cultural and film studies.

About the Author(s)

J Bobby Noble is an Assistant Professor of sexuality and gender studies in the School of Women's Studies at York University (Toronto).

Table of Contents

Introduction: The New Men of 1998

1. Alibis of Essence and Enemies Within: At the Well of Obscenity
2. Passionate Fictions: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness
3. Impressions of the Man: Sacred Countries and the Stone Butch Blues
4. Boys Do Cry: Hilary Swank and the Politics of a Pronoun
5. Postscript: Notes Toward a Radical (Re)Thinking of the Politics of Gender



Masculinities Without Men? Is a richly theoretical text, explicating intricate socio-cultural phenomena with meticulous finesse. It approaches important literary and filmic texts and key areas of gender and sexuality studies in a thoughtful manner. Its thorough theoretical context makes it an important resource for scholars invested in gender theory.
J Bobby Noble is clearly in the process of staking out a provocative and cutting-edge terrain within gender studies.
-- Aubrey Hanson and Kit Dobson, Canadian Woman Studies, Winter/Spring 2005

Attentive to the detailed narrative work of prose fiction writers and the interpretive responses they provoke, Noble engages complex masculinities with analytical subtlety and ethical sensitivityÖ Masculinities Without Men? Provides openings through which to envision gender transformations as mutually constitutive, without denying their respective struggles and integrities. It is here that this book provides a bridge between queer studies, gender studies and feminist studies that is extremely valuable
-- Susan Driver, TOPIA 15, July 2006.

At last! Here is a big step forward in transgender scholarshipÖ . Masculinities without Men? constitutes a remarkable text, which manages to move beyond already traditional notions of female masculinity, as originally defined by Judith Halberstam. In its redefinition of trans-subjectivity beyond the confines of female masculinity and in revisiting the trans-ed individual in literary texts, the book should remain, therefore, an important contribution to both gender and literary studies.
- Josep M. Armengol-Carrera, State University of New York, Sage Publications, 15 April 2008

Masculinities without Men? is a good introduction to issues of gender, bodies, race, class, and nation as well as to works by Halberstam, Foucault, Hall, Butler, Bakhtin, and Prosser.
- Donna McCormack, University of Leeds, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 2005

Sample Chapter


Related Topics

Literature > Literary Criticism
Cultural Studies
Gender Studies
Sexuality Studies
Gay and Lesbian Studies

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