- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198765835
- ISBN-13: 978-0198765837
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.2 x 5.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire 1st Edition
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"Carol Dyhouse considers the shifting fantasies of desirable masculinity that western women have consumed - and produced - over the last 150 years... the book ranges fluently across literature, film, music, and television. Heartthrobs is erudite, accessible, funny, and invaluable - a genuinely insightful, and enjoyable, work of cultural history." - Rachel Moseley, Reader in Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick
"Carol Dyhouse writes about women's desire with her customary brio, delicious humor, and eclectic cultural references. She takes the reader on a breathtaking tour of fiction, film, song, and digital media, tracing the development of women's objects of desire from Byron to Rudolph Valentino and Justin Bieber... How many other writers would bring together in one slim volume Artie Shaw, Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Violet Winspear, and David Cassidy?" - Helen Taylor, Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter
"What do women want, asked Freud? The answer he probably wasn't expecting was "Mr Rochester with a dash of Rudolph Valentino". In this irresistible study of female desire, Carol Dyhouse asks tough, scholarly questions about what - or rather who - makes female hearts beat faster." - Kathryn Hughes, Professor of Life Writing, University of East Anglia
About the Author
Carol Dyhouse is Professor (Emeritus) of History at the University of Sussex. She has written extensively about the social history of women, gender, and education. Her recent publications include Glamour: Women, History, Feminism (2011) and Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women (2013). She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and in 2004 she was awarded an honorary D.Litt from the University of Winchester in recognition of her work on history and education.
Top customer reviews
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Tracing the changing views of sexy, desirable men, from the earliest of novels (whether written by men, or particularly, women) we are shown that, whether in Richardson’s Pamela, the first novel, Austen’s novels, (especially Pride and Prejudice, with Darcy, the pinnacle of desirability) or Bronte’s, what set female hearts a flutter was a dominant, dominating, often ‘sardonic’ (a favourite adjective) on the verge of cruel, man, ultimately to be tamed, reformed in some way by the virtuous love of a good woman. Love tames the beast into marriage. And, rescuing him from being merely bestial, was of course, wealth. Easy to see why, in a time when a woman’s ability to make wealth for herself was lacking. So it is a little depressing to see how little has changed….she reminds the reader of a more than on the verge of cruel man in that runaway viral success, 50 Shades of Grey. What of course stopped the – I can’t bring myself to name him hero – of that, from merely being a thug, was – (sighs) wealth and fine linen denoting wealth, rather than grubby grease stained overalls.
Others, in films, followed the trend, from Valentino to Rhett Butler. I found it interesting, and, depressing too, as explained with Valentino (The Sheik) though his Arabian mien is exotic, and in part gives his allure, it was necessary that the character turned out to have Caucasian ancestry – there was, surely, an inherent racism in this.
Later sections in the book look at sexual desire in early teens and pre-teens, and examines the pretty boy/boy band phenomenon – David Cassidy is particularly focused on – the allure for his young fans his unthreatening, androgynous, not quite developed sexuality. It’s the other end of the spectrum from the adult female’s object of desire who masters.
There are some amusing anecdotes – I particularly enjoyed the revelation of the potency of Austen’s Darcy - perhaps not unconnected with Colin Firth’s wet shirt, but, of course, P+P was an enduring literary romance before THAT BBC adaptation – as evidenced by the following quote :
“scientist working on pheromones in mice discovered a protein in the urine of the male mouse which was irresistible to females. There named it after Jane Austen’s character.’Darcin’. There are many ways in which Darcy has proved a money spinner”
I received this as a review copy from Amazon Vine UK
The role that women have played and their status within society has shifted throughout history. With these shifts, so too did the male ideal they fantasized about morph to accommodate the changing times and desires. Ranging from sensitive men to caveman/alpha males to supernatural beings, there have been rather observable trends of the types of men that women lusted after.
While an informative read, it was primarily a surface level exploration and a sweeping history that doesn't delve deep into the root of the topic to more fully explain the reasons behind the aspects of men that women dreamed about. There was clearly a lot of research that went in to the development of this book, as evidenced by the myriad of sources given as examples; this could certainly be used as a base source from which to further research the topic or explicate the attributes of a heartthrob that either remained static or evolved to qualify men as a heartthrob through the various eras. I do appreciate that this text offers a counterpoint to the proliferation of material available about the male gaze and addresses the fact that women are also capable of being the person doing the looking and objectifying of men.
Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse is a nonfiction analysis of women and desire. It focuses mostly on what women are drawn to in books, television, movies, and music performers and what that reveals about what women really want in men and relationships.
I am super in love with the idea of this book, but had a hard time getting into it. The issue was not necessarily with the book itself. Dyhouse is writing a history here, so she covers a huge span of time, from before Mr. Darcy through Christian Grey. Most of the examples she focuses on are from the pre-1980s.
I was not familiar with most of her examples (even Rudolph Valentino is an unfamiliar face to me), so I had a hard time following some of her points and fully understanding the connections Dyhouse made. The more modern examples (or historical ones that I was familiar with) had more impact for me.
I would love to take this book as a class. I think it would work well in a format where you were reading the original texts (including Pride and Prejudice, Gone With the Wind, and a slew of paperbacks from the ‘50s-’70s), watching the original movies, and watching performances of the original artists. From there, conversations about why these stories (and men) were so popular would be very engaging.
Overall, the ideas in this book are very interesting. The text is very academic in tone, however, and you should be prepared to do some heavy Googling.
Albeit a quick read, this book examines female desire (women as either respectable or uninhibited and fallen), romantic male leads throughout different forms of media (aesthletes, crooners, soap opera doctors, the 'conundrum' that is Liberace, sheiks and 'Orientalism,' men with motorcycles), stereotypes of masculinity and male role models (alpha-male, someone who rebels against current cultural & social mores, emotional availability, a steely dark gaze, dominion over nature and the outdoors), and the power that 'heartthrobs' attain and exude. I only wish there was more information about women as lead characters and love interests, as well as the strength of friendships/partnerships.