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“WHAT IS A MAN?”, OR THE REPRESENTATION OF MASCULINITY IN HANIF KUREISHI’S SHORT FICTION

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Chapter Summary

Based on Butler’s concept of gender performativity and Connell’s theory of the social construction of masculinity, this essay argues that Kureishi’s “postethnic” short stories explore contemporary conceptualizations of masculinity: Love in a Blue Time (1997) depicts the disruption of masculine gender practices in the postfeminist era; Midnight All Day (1999) portrays the concomitant transformations of masculinity; The Body and Seven Stories (2002) emphasizes the performativity of masculine identity; and New Stories (2010) transcends traditional, patriarchal and hegemonic notions of masculinity, imagining alternative forms of masculine gender practice, such as the bisexual man or the “feminist house-husband”. Since (gender) identity is as much a narrative artifice as literature, Kureishi’s stories offer a specific savoir littéraire about the formation of masculine identity. Not only do they contribute to a better understanding of contemporary masculinities, but they also conceive of new forms of masculine identity.

10.1163/9789004299009_012
/content/books/b9789004299009s012
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