Published in the Global Masculinities Series
Masculine Style presents a groundbreaking account of masculine self-fashioning in American literature and positions the American West as central to modernism. Daniel Worden argues for the importance of "cowboy masculinity," as dramatized in late nineteenth-century dime novels, to the writings of Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, Nat Love, Theodore Roosevelt, John Steinbeck, and Owen Wister. This perceptive study charts the contours and shifts in Western masculinity as it is detached from rigid class associations after the Civil War, remade as a normative requirement for national belonging at the turn of the century, and contained as a threatening force during the early years of the Cold War.
"Worden's Masculine Style is an astute, compellingly argued, appealingly offbeat, and innovative study of its subject that will make an exciting contribution to Americanist literary studies. Worden's argument, broadly speaking, is that the roots of American literary modernism--an aestheticperiod that we associate with the early twentieth century, and with the famous authors Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Stein--lie in the dime novel western genre that flourished, commercially though not in terms of critical appreciation, in the late nineteenth century. Worden makes the bracing argument that the dime novel's various forms of gendered play inform literary modernism, and the valences he explores between the earlier, repudiated genre forms and the later, critically valorized period are illuminating and interesting."--David Greven, author of Men Beyond Desire and Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush
"Masculine Style is that rarest of books, an elegantly sustained set of readings that establish compelling and lasting connections between areas of study not commonly talked about in the same breath. Through the lens of gender analysis, Worden expertly recognizes the contribution of genre narratives from and about the American West in the formal and ideological contours of literary Modernism."--Nicolas S. Witschi, author of Traces of Gold: California's Natural Resources and the Claim to Realism in Western American Literature
"Worden incisively demonstrates that the distance from dime-novel westerns to high literary modernism is much shorter than anyone had supposed. Masculine Style combines brilliant rethinking of 'cowboy masculinity'--as supple, unruly, and central to U.S. writers from the Civil War to the Cold War--dazzling re-readings of individual texts, and convincing challenges to conventional cultural hierarchies, literary periods, and field demarcations. This book is a game changer."--Christine Bold, author of Selling the Wild West
"[Daniel Worden's] juxtaposition of popular Western genre writers with canonical American modernist novelists allows him to usefully rethink the production of masculinities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. . . . Highly recommended."--D.E. Magill, Choice