Alexandria Digital Research Library

"Incorrigibly and Invincibly Bachelor": The Unmarried Man and the Isolation of Individualism in Mid-Twentieth-Century U.S. Fiction

Author:
Pecchenino, Daniel Nolan
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. English
Degree Supervisor:
Candace Waid
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2011
Issued Date:
2011
Topics:
Gender Studies, American Studies, and Literature, American
Keywords:
American
Fiction
Cosumer*.
Bachelor
Media
Film
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011
Description:

Drawing on theories of masculinity, whiteness, and American liberalism, "Incorrigibly and Invincibly Bachelor" is an interdisciplinary study of mid-twentieth-century U.S. literary, media, consumer, and erotic cultures. Its point of entry is a range of narratives across multiple genres by major U.S. authors that feature bachelor protagonists and are pre-occupied with the threat of market-driven de-individuation. Although bachelors are rarely considered resistant, countercultural figures, given the centrality of marriage to the economic and social life of the 1940s and 1950s, these bachelor-centered texts must be seen as subversive critiques not merely of domesticity, but of a variety of cultural practices, norms, and productions that effectively circumscribed a limited number of acceptable performances of identity. While there have been several comprehensive analyses of marriage in U.S.

literature, very little has been done to address the potential cultural work being performed by narratives about bachelors, particularly in the mid-twentieth century. This is surprising in light of the marriage, baby, and industrial booms of the period, and "Incorrigibly and Invincibly Bachelor" uses the historical record as the background for an investigation of how its primary authors---Chandler, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Salinger---situate their bachelor protagonists in relation to several irresistible mid-century forces: crony-capitalism, the film industry, and mass culture. While it may seem counterintuitive, this project reads these bachelor fictions as queer protest fictions, insofar as the white, heterosexual male's willful self-removal from biological reproduction and its cultural instantiation in the American suburbs insults the logic of a mature, consumer-driven U.S. capitalism.

These protest fictions must be taken seriously, as they reflect the frustrating marriage of innovation and impotence that has defined the history of U.S. liberalism---in brief, they are cultural critiques that fail to lead to structural change precisely because they abide by the market logic of the system they resist.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (281 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f30p0wxj
ISBN:
9781267194336
Catalog System Number:
990037519040203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Daniel Pecchenino
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