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On Brokeback Mountain: Meditations about Masculinity, Fear, and Love in the Story and the Film Paperback – January 17, 2008


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On Brokeback Mountain: Meditations about Masculinity, Fear, and Love in the Story and the Film + Reading Brokeback Mountain: Essays on the Story and the Film
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (January 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739121650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739121658
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,945,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This reader-friendly and thorough study of Brokeback Mountain enhances our enjoyment of the film and the original story, and expands our awareness of crucial social justice issues. A personal essay as well as an enlightened volume of cultural criticism, this study moves, informs, and creates a community of readers. A groundbreaking inquiry in gender studies, Eric Patterson's new work gives us language for what it means not only to be masculine, but to be human. (Marilyn Kallet, University of Tennessee and author of fourteen books, including Circe, After Hours and co-editor of Sleeping With One Eye Open:)

A brilliant, powerful investigation that makes sense of the sensational reception of the 2005 Ang Lee film and traces the beauty of it back to the Annie Proulx short story it was based on, this is a book for everyone who saw Brokeback Mountain or read about it. Eric Patterson’s writing will remind you of that one inspiring English teacher whose class you wish you could take again, dazzling you with funny and intriguing insights about the political and literary contexts of both the film and fiction. Companionable with current scholarship theorizing space, regionalism, and the rural homosexual, On Brokeback Mountain is also a timely contribution to significant discussions about how gay and lesbian studies and queer theory have myopically focused on urban identities. This book is as poignant as the movie it elucidates and will be just as gratefully embraced by freshmen and farmers alike. (Carol Mason, associate professor of English and women?s studies at Oklahoma State University, and author of Killing for Life and the forthcom)

Eric Patterson's new book is at once useful and inspiring. Through attentive and insightful readings of Annie Proulx's powerful story and Ang Lee's moving film, Patterson not only brilliantly explicates these significant works of art, but also places them in a variety of revealing contexts. The result is cultural criticism at its finest: informative, committed, passionate, humane. (Claude J. Summers, William E. Stirton Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at University of Michigan-Dearborn and General Editor, www.glbtq.com, an)

Before reading this book, I thought I appreciated the achievements of Brokeback Mountain. I am grateful for Eric Patterson's passionate and richly insightful illumination — of the story and film as artistic works, and of the cultural realities that informed their creation and fuel their potency. (Will Fellows, author of A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture and Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 1997.)

Eric Patterson's book is a success on three levels. It can be read as a companion to understanding the film and story; it can be used as a text in studying the social impact of the film and story at the university level; and whether you are a veteran of our forum discussions or newly struck by Brokeback fever, this book will add an extra dimension to your appreciation of Brokeback Mountain as a masterpiece of modern literature and film. (The Ultimate Brokeback Forum, March 2008)

When Owen Wister invented the Western in his best-selling 1902 novel, The Virginian, he placed at the heart of the genre the love that "dare not speak its name," with an eastern narrator enamored of a stalwart ex-Virginian. A century later, Brokeback Mountain caused a critical eruption in its frank exploration of the passion that has always been a part of cowboy life. The triumph of Eric Patterson’s study of both Proulx’s story and Ang Lee’s film is to show how fully the narrative of Jack and Ennis is a part of our national romance. In nuanced chapters, Patterson explores a series of related issues—the elegy, histories of homosexuality, Whitman’s poetry, romantic love, ranging in the process from Virgil’s Eclogues to Kinsey’s studies of sexuality—all in an effort to understand at once the triumph of Brokeback Mountain as narrative and its separate stylistic achievements, as well as the torrent of slurs against its basic premise. Patterson is an impassioned reader, though never intemperate, and through a careful accumulation of readings of every aspect of both story and film, makes his case simply, successfully, elegantly, that this is not only a triumph of the genre, but a masterpiece in its own right. (Lee C. Mitchell, Holmes Professor of Belles-Lettres and professor of English at Princeton University and author Westerns: Making the Man in Fi)

Eric Patterson has created...[a] reader-friendly examination of the short story and the film adaptation....Brokeback fans will want to read this thorough analysis....Patterson's book is a powerful tribute to the story and film. (The Gay & Lesbian Review)

Well researched and nicely written ... insightful not only into the Brokeback Mountain narrative but also into the troubling history of sexual prejudice. (The Journal of American Culture, March 2009)

About the Author

Eric Patterson is associate professor of American Studies and American Literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By RMS on June 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every once in a while a film comes along that changes your life forever. From box-office phenomenons (Titanic, Star Wars), to literature inspired wonders (The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter), to adult-themed hits (Fatal Attraction, The Silence of the Lambs, The Graduate), to "personal" marvels (The Color Purple, The Piano, Schindler's List) certain films have proven to transcend mere strips of celluloid and make a genuine impact on the world. Brokeback Mountain has proven to be one of those films. From the many awards it won to the numerous websites now dedicated to it ([...]), Brokeback Mountain has produced a passionate, enduring following.

With "On Brokeback Mountain," author Eric Patterson has achieved a remarkable feat in not only condensing the phenomenon of Brokeback into such a fine volume, but managing to do so less then three years after the film's release. All of the chapters present well-researched and interesting perspectives on different areas of study concerning both the film and it's effects on society. The book provides a nuanced look at such topics as the aesthetics of the film, it's tremendous cultural impact as well as homosexuality in literature and history. Patterson has contributed scholarly and thought-provoking work here; illuminating the point of intersection between a timeless work of cinematic art and gender studies. "On Brokeback Mountain" is a rich, passionate text that allows one to appreciate the story and film even further.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Anez. on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I get emotional about BBM. 1st, I LOVE the film. Oh, I like Ms. Proulx's story too, but I LOVE the film. It had such an effect on me; I can't forget it. Theauthor's book is very insightful in its meditations as they are stated on the cover. BBM is a love story, plain and simple. But also a very tragic love story that hits you in the heart, with such a wallop.

The author delves into western history of the plains, farm boys, bleak towns, the lives of total, complete unhappiness of Ennis and Jack by just not being together, and the ever-present homophobia existing then. He gives deserved credit to the superb acting of Heath & Jake, beautiful direction, screenplay, score, etc., and of course to the original story too.

Well, I could go on and say what I think about that so-called
rotten, hostile "academy" and what they (and many others) did to BBM (I hope you know what I mean). But that would take up too much space!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a paper on Brokeback Mountain. This book gave me much insight to the situation and forces at hand at the time of the movie.
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on May 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Did you hear that an openly gay actor paid well into the six figures to buy the stained piece of clothing that Jake G.'s character wore in "Brokeback"? There are some people who love them some "Brokeback" more than anything in the world. The author of this book just makes it clear that he thinks "Brokeback" is the most important thing that humankind ever created. The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids just don't cut it. The author loves him some "Brokeback." He clearly wants a copy of its DVD placed in his arms when he rests and enters the next journey.

This book is probably ten times longer than Annie Proulx's short story. I know plenty of folk who loved them some "Color Purple," but know of no book analyzing it that is ten times longer than Alice Walker's original book. Many readers skip pages that have Roman numerals, but those introductory chapters are very important here. Still, there's about 70 pages of info with Roman numerals! If you have that much to say in an introduction, don't you want to integrate it into the body of the book?! This is just another example of how the author shows that seeing "Brokeback" was the reason that Mother Nature placed him on this planet.

The author says he purposely avoided the academic style that may scare many readers. True: you won't have to be familiar with Michel Foucault or Judith Butler to understand his writings. However, the length of the book may scare off everyday readers. Remember when William Shatner told Trekkies to "get a life" on "Star Trek"? I am worried that Ang Lee and Jake G. might say that to this author.

I mean, I loved "Brokeback" as much as the next gay guy, but this work did seem indulgent.
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