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Feeling Singular - Queer Masculinities in the Early United States

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  • 2024

  • Engelsk

Much of U.S. cultural production since the twentieth century has celebrated the figure of the singular individual, from the lonesome Huckleberry Finn to the cinematic loners John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, but that tradition casts a backward shadow that prohibits seeing how the singular in America was previously marked as unwanted, outcast, excessive, or weird. Feeling Singular: Queer Masculinities in the Early United States examines the paradoxical nature of masculine self-promotion and individuality in the early United States. Through a collection of singular life narratives, author Ben Bascom draws on a queer studies approach that uncovers how fraught private desires shaped a public masculinity increasingly at odds with the disinterested norms of republican public culture.In telling the stories of excessive American masculinities, Feeling Singular presents the Early Republic of the United States as a queer and messy world of social outcasts and eccentric personalities all vying--and in spectacular ways failing--for public attention. These figures include John Fitch (1743-1798), a struggling working-class mechanic; Jeffrey Brace (1742-1827), a formerly enslaved Black Revolutionary War veteran; Timothy Dexter (1747-1806), a self-declared "Lord" who secured a fortune through a risky venture in bedpans and whalebone corsets; Jonathan Plummer (1761-1819), an itinerant peddler and preacher; and William "Amos" Wilson (1762-1821), a reclusive stonecutter who became popularly known as "the Pennsylvania Hermit." Despite leaving behind copious manuscripts and printed autobiographies, they dwindled instead into cultural insignificance, failing to achieve what scholars have called the hallmarks of "republican masculinity."Through closely reading a range of texts--from manuscripts to hastily printed books, and from phonetically spelled pamphlets to sexually explicit broadsides--Bascom uses the language of queer studies to understand what made someone singular in the early United States and how that singularity points at the ruptures in social codes that get normalized through historical analysis. Departing from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, whom tradition positions as a paragon of self-production, this book offers instead typologies of the failed inventor, the tragic outsider, the flamboyant pretender, the farcical exhorter, and the disaffected exile.

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Forventes i salg 19.06.2024.

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