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Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush Hardcover – December 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


David Greven has produced a stimulating and wide-ranging study which focuses on a range of films which span the Bush-to-Bush era…One of the strengths of Greven’s book is its close focus on aesthetic aspects of film which are effectively linked to psychoanalytical concepts and wider debates concerning the representation of masculinity in the Bush-to-Bush era…Greven’s study succeeds in providing a thought-provoking analysis which should be very helpful to scholars of queer theory and Hollywood film. (Helen Oakley, The Open University Journal of American Studies 2012-08-15)

A challenging book...that turns a great deal of theory on masochism and masculinity on its head. In a complex yet intriguing manner, Greven manages to weave together classical mythology, psychoanalytic theory, Mulveyan gaze theory, and textual analysis of several key films of the era...The author delivers thought-provoking readings of these films. (Choice 2010-06-00)

Subtly radical...Greven takes to task the perverse academic gymnastics of theorists who valorize self-destructive and often self-hating displays of masculinity--and especially queerness--as somehow empowering, and offers as a corrective a sensible and cogent critique of the masochistic portrayals of the male body in Hollywood films of the last two decades. (Cineaste 2010-09-00)

Greven has put a very useful perspective on the notion of queer sexualities with this study. Moreover his work provides an excellent rebuttal of the position of several prominent film critiques who deny the usefulness of theory in analyzing cinem...a. Greven vigorously discards the injunction to reject a psychoanalytic basis for examining spectator’s identification with screen images. The readings here are nuanced and powerful and they are admirably supported by psychoanalytic theory. (College Literature 2012-01-00)

When he explores the movies themselves, analyzing text and subtext, directorial choices and scores, lighting and framing, symbolism and defamiliarization, David Greven's postulations are fascinating and often revelatory.... it’s a gift to read his insights and interpretations and then revisit these films after reading such a well-considered exploration of them. (Sacramento Book Review 2010-05-05)

The principal contribution of this book is the close readings of presentations of manhood in the films Casualties of War, The Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club, The Passion of the Christ, and Brokeback Mountain. (Neal King Men and Masculinities 2013-07-13)

About the Author

DAVID GREVEN is Associate Professor of English at Connecticut College.


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More About the Author

David Greven is Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. His areas of specialization are nineteenth-century American literature; cinema, television, and popular culture; psychoanalytic theory, queer theory, and gender studies; and the history of American literary and film criticism.

Greven's new book, "Ghost Faces: Hollywood and Post-Millennial Masculinity," is forthcoming from SUNY Press in 2016. His most recently published books are "Gender Protest and Same-Sex Desire in Antebellum American Literature: Margaret Fuller, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville," "Psycho-Sexual: Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin," and "The Fragility of Manhood: Hawthorne, Freud, and the Politics of Gender." He has contributed essays to recent critical readers such as "Reality Gendervision," "Millennial Masculinity," "The Last Western" (on HBO's "Deadwood"), and "Reading the Bromance." He is completing a book on Hitchcock called "Intimate Violence: Hitchcock, Sex, and Queer Theory."

He is also the author of "Representations of Femininity in the Cinema: The Woman's Film, Film Noir, and Modern Horror," which considers the recurring theme of female transformation in the woman's film. Transformation occurs on several levels, but most dramatically in terms of the woman's appearance. Greven considers the sexual and political implications of these metamorphoses. This book also makes the case that modern horror works should be read as "concealed woman's films." The book treats a wide range of films from "Now, Voyager," "The Heiress," and "Vertigo," to "Carrie," the "Alien" films, and "The Brave One."

Greven's 2009 book, "Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush" (University of Texas Press), argues that a split between narcissism and masochism informs cinematic masculinity from 1989 to the present. Also published in 2009, Greven's book "Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek" (McFarland) considers the allegorical representation of gay characters in the Trek mythos.

"The Fragility of Manhood: Hawthorne, Freud, and The Politics of Gender" is the first Freudian study of Hawthorne's work since Frederick Crews' 1966 "The Sins of the Fathers." Through a queer theory lens, Greven reopens the question of Freud's relevance to gender theory and to Hawthorne's work. Greven argues that Hawthorne offers a powerful critique of normative American masculinity.

Greven's first book, "Men Beyond Desire: Manhood, Sex, and Violation in American Literature" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), studies the recurrent figure of the emotionally and sexually unavailable male in antebellum American literature. David Leverenz, reviewing the book in the Melville journal Leviathan, writes, "Greven's assertions often have imaginative zest... Greven has written a fine first book: sophisticated, smart, ambitious, intellectually courageous." "American Studies Today" describes the book as "a refreshing and comprehensive study of the representation of gender and gendered relationships by authors such as Irving, Cooper, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and Stowe, among others."

Greven's essays have appeared or will appear in journals such as Quarterly Review of Film and Video, The Hitchcock Annual, American Literary Realism, The Journal of American Culture, Legacy, New Literary History, American Quarterly, Postmodern Culture, Cinema Journal, Genders, Jump Cut, Cineaction, Modern Psychoanalysis, Nineteenth Century Studies, The European Journal of American Culture, Refractory, Studies in American Fiction, Poe Studies: Dark Romanticism, and The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, as well as the critical readers "Reel Food," "Action Chicks," and "Reading Sex and the City."

Greven has co-edited a special issue of The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review on the "Late Hawthorne" (vol.35, Fall 2009). He is on the advisory board for the journal Genders and The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, and reads essays and manuscripts for journals and publishers such as PMLA, College Literature, Early American Literature, Oxford University Press, Routledge, Northwestern University Press, and Peter Lang.

Greven is a winner of a Phyllis W. Meadow Award for Excellence in Psychoanalytic Writing for his essay "Rereading Narcissism: Freud's Theory of Male Homosexuality and Hawthorne's 'The Gentle Boy,'" published in Modern Psychoanalysis vol. 34(2), 2009.

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Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush
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