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Shame, Masculinity and Desire of Belonging in the Novels of Hanif Kureishi, Philip Roth and Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki, 1997-2007

Stepien, Aneta Barbara (2013) Shame, Masculinity and Desire of Belonging in the Novels of Hanif Kureishi, Philip Roth and Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki, 1997-2007 Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Abstract

This thesis provides a comparative study of male shame in Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy (1998), Philip Roth’s Everyman (2006) and Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), and finally Hubert Klimko- Dobrzaniecki’s Raz. Dwa. Trzy (2007). As this reading of the novels reveals, shame in the male characters results from a failure to measure up to the hegemonic ideal of masculinity promoted in their respective cultures. This study shows that shame is an emotion, which conditions masculinity protecting the powerful hierarchies that exist between different masculinities and between men and women. This reading of shame as applied to masculinity in Polish, British and American contexts aims to expose those hierarchies demonstrating the liberating potential of shame, which can queer traditional masculinity allowing new forms of masculinity to emerge. The analysis of male shame illuminates further the clash between male gender, constructed primarily as a symbol of power, and shame considered as a disempowering and emasculating emotion. The writers selected for this analysis hold a status of the cultural other: Kureishi as British- Pakistani, Roth as Jewish-American and Klimko-Dobrzaniecki as bom in Silesia, a borderline region between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The writers’ status and personal experience is mirrored in their male protagonists’ sexuality, ethnic and class belonging. Significantly, in their texts, the writers represent diasporic masculinity which clashes with the hegemonic ideal promoted by their respective cultures. Drawing on David Gilmore’s concept of ‘achieved manhood’, Elspeth Probyn’s notion of ‘belonging’ and Raewyn Connell’s concept of ‘masculinity crisis’ this study explains why shame occurs as a result of the male protagonists’ failure to secure their place within the realm of the hegemonic masculinity. The interdisciplinary approach taken in this study draws heavily on a post-colonial conceptual framework mainly due to the status of shame as both an individual and social emotion; it can be used as a means of social control as well as being a private feeling. This methodological approach facilitates the literary analysis of shame, embodied for instance in the images of the penis as expressing or failing to express virility and potency in the characters, as well as investigation of narrative expressions of shame examined through different concepts linked to the emotion, namely, gaze in Kureishi’s Intimacy, hardness and softness in Roth’s novels Everyman and Portnoy’s Complaint, and dirt and disgust in Raz. Dwa. Trzy by Hubet Klimko-Dobrzaniecki.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Stepien, Aneta Barbara
Date : 2013
Copyright Disclaimer : Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Surrey. Copyright remains with the author.
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
http://www.loc.gov/loc.terms/relators/THS
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 19 Feb 2019 16:35
Last Modified : 19 Feb 2019 16:35
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/850529

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