Contrary to what Simone de Beauvoir famously argued in 1949, men have not lived without knowing the burdens of their sex. Though men may have been elevated to cultural positions of strength and privilege, it has not been without intense scrutiny of their biological functions. Investigations of male potency and the `ability to perform' have long been mainstays of social, political, and artistic discourse and have often provoked spirited and partisan declarations on what it means to be a man. This interdisciplinary collection considers the tensions that have developed between the historical privilege often ascribed to the male and the vulnerabilities to which his body is prone. Andrew Mangham and Daniel Lea's introduction illustrates how with the dawn of modern medicine during the Renaissance there emerged a complex set of languages for describing the male body not only as a symbol of strength, but as flesh and bone prone to illness, injury and dysfunction. Using a variety of historical and literary approaches, the essays consider the critical ways in which medicine's interactions with literature reveal vital clues about the ways sex, gender, and identity are constructed through treatments of a range of `pathologies' including deformity, venereal disease, injury, nervousness, and sexual difference. The relationships between male medicine and ideals of potency and masculinity are searchingly explored through a broad range of sources including African American slave fictions, southern gothic, early modern poetry, Victorian literature, and the Modern novel.
Andrew Mangham is Associate Professor in Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Reading, author of 'Dickens's Forensic Realism: Truth, Bodies, Evidence' (Ohio State University Press, 2017) and 'Violent Women and Sensation Fiction: Crime, Medicine and Victorian Popular Culture' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), editor of 'The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction' (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and co-editor of 'The Female Body in Medicine and Literature' (Liverpool University Press, 2011). Daniel Lea is Professor of Contemporary Literature at Oxford Brookes University. He is the author of 'Twenty-first Century Fiction: Contemporary British Voices' (Manchester University Press, 2016), 'Graham Swift' (Manchester University Press, 2005) and 'George Orwell: Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four' (Palgrave MacMillan, 2001); and co-editor of 'Posting the Male: Masculinities in Post-War and Contemporary Writing' (Brill, 2003).
Acknowledgements Notes on Contributors 1. Introduction Andrew Mangham and Daniel Lea ENQUIRY AND EXPERIMENTATION 2. The Poetics of Anatomy: John Donne's Dissection of the Male Body - Jamie McKinstry 3. The Black Male Body in Early African American Science Fiction: The Experimental Case of Sutton Griggs's Imperium in Imperio - Marlene D. Allen 4. Miserrimus Dexter: Monstrous Forms of the Fin de Siecle - Katherine Angell 5. `Intellectual suicides': The Man of Letters in Middlemarch - Christine Crockett Sharp WOUNDED AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGIZED BODIES 6. The Male Wound in Fin de Siecle Poetry - Sarah Parker 7. The Cacophony of Disaster: The Metaphorical Body of Sound in Don DeLillo's Falling Man - Inbar Kaminsky 8. `Human nature is remorseless' : Masculinity, Medical Science and Nervous Conditions in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway - Avishek Parui 9. `A man must make himself': Hypochondria in Maria Edgeworth's Ennui - Robin Runia FEAR, CONFUSION AND CONTAGION 10. `Sons of Belial': Contaminated/Contaminating Victorian Male Bodies - Lesley A. Hall 11. Syphilis and Sociability: The Impolite Bodies of Two Gentlemen, James Boswell (1740-1795) and Sylas Neville (1741-1840) - Leigh Wetherall-Dickson 12. `'Tis My Father's Fault': Tristram Shandy and Paternal Imagination - Jenifer Buckley 13. Southern Gothic and the Queer Male Body - Thomas Lawrence Long Index