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August 02, 2011


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to kill a mockingbird? finch seems like a manly enforcer to me, although I'm not sure what that means so I will have to read your work! what about flannery o'connor's a good man is hard to find for a manly evader?


if I only read one paper, which should i read?

Calvin Massey

Surely you would not omit Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Sam Spade is definitional. Or Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. If you include cinema, of course the Bogart roles in Falcon, Big Sleep, and Casablanca are iconic. Or Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front -- Paul Baumer, the narrator.

John Kang

Wow, thanks to both of you for the recommendations.

Serendipity: Just finished a couple of Flannery O'Connor's fabulous short stories; did you know those were part of the inspiration for Springsteen's haunting songs in Nebraska? Interesting, no?

And, quite agree, who could omit Hammett for hard boiled manliness in American noir.....

Ms/Mr Anon1, thanks for the interest in my work. One piece?.....probably "The Burdens of Manliness,"....short (relatively short), and, there, I happily relinquish obligations of exposition to the more eloquent voices of combat soldiers to articulate manliness in their often amazing memoirs.

Jake Linford

To get a sense for the frontier/Western stereotype of manliness, you should take a look at novels by Louis L'Amour. I find them fairly interchangeable. A surprisingly more complex take is found in Shane, by Jack Schaefer read by every middle school student in Wyoming.

Tim Zinnecker

Perhaps THE GREAT SANTINI (by Pat Conroy).

Bridget Crawford

Welcome to The Lounge, John!

John Kang

Jake and Tim, thanks for the recommendations; hard to beat a good old fashioned western by Louis L'Amour, or, for that matter, The Great Santini. And, thanks for the welcome, Bridget!

Orin Kerr


Maybe it's just me, but I'm not quite sure I understand the category. Is the idea any literature that involves stereotypes of masculinity? Any literature that involves stereotypes of masculinity and has people breaking the law? If so, that would seem like pretty broad categories that include almost the entire genre of crime novels. Or do you mean something narrower?

John Kang


Nope, it's not you; it's me, probably me, anyway. I've written about manliness and the law and their sundry connections. In those articles, I've tried to stay on a narrow track but the annotated bibliography is deliberately broad, which may be a euphemism for saying that I don't quite know what I want to include/exclude in the bibliography. Mostly, I was hoping to gather a bunch of different books and stories and then sift and toss later. So, Atticus Finch would be in a section on the "Gentleman and the Law," while Puzo's Godfather would be in another section, on "Manly Honor, Revenge, and the Law."

I suppose it's possible that, as you say, "the entire genre of crime novels" include stereotypes of masculinity, but not all crime novels have especially keen sketches of masculinity.

In fact, as a crime novel junkie, I've gleaned that a lot of crime fiction only hints at outlines of masculinity without quite offering an explicit and focused theory. Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes obviously offers oblique commentaries about a certain kind of manliness but George Pelecanos's Marcus Clay is always thinking about it--always thinking about what is great about being a man, and what is terrible, what is virtuous about it and what is vice. That is, Holmes is a guy grappling with the law; Clay is a guy involved in the law who always is consciously grappling with the burdens and pleasures of manliness.

Hope this makes sense.....

Jeff Lipshaw

Richard Ford's Frank Bascom trilogy: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land. Ford also has a lot of short stories that are not so much about masculinity as they are fixed, like the Bascom novels, inside a thinking man's mind.

Allen Mendenhall

In a word, Hemingway.

Dave McGowan

Both "Partners" and "Homesteader" will supply at 'manliness' from different perspectives. There's a link to both, and links to reviews on my blog.

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