Orienting Masculinity, Orienting Nation: W. Somerset Maugham's Exotic Fiction
Although their settings span a wide geographical area, from the South Pacific to India, MaughaM&Apos;s exotic short stories, novels, and travelogues all, ultimately, focus on the creation of a masculine British identity. In this first book to address MaughaM&Apos;s fiction in light of recent developments in postcolonial, gender, and cultural theory, Holden argues that MaughaM&Apos;s work can be understood as an attempt to negotiate between two alternative masculine identities: those of private homosexual and public writer. Holden identifies MaughaM&Apos;s attempts to cultivate a public persona as a writer whose heterosexuality is confirmed through a process of control of language. Furthermore, Holden illuminates the fluidity of language that Maugham, in contrast to his public persona, associated with homosexuality. The basis of this study is the provocative notion that MaughaM&Apos;s texts, despite their exotic locations, ultimately dramatize a struggle over masculine British identity.
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The first, represented by Christessen, is an "androgynous blend of compassion
and courage, gentleness and strength, self-control and native purity" (Nelson 530
) which represented "manliness" in Victorian fiction until the last quarter of the ...
Manliness, Claudia Nelson writes, was often figured by the mid- Victorians as "
androgyny (if not outright feminization)" (529), since it was based upon a
construction of gender in which "women's hypertrophied morals went hand in
hand with ...
Manliness becomes less a state of mind than a state of muscle, and its new
antonym is "effeminacy." The benign unnaturalness of self-controlled,
responsible, asexual androgyny seems newly dangerous — degenerate, sterile,
and often ...
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