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Book review - Jean Bobby Noble, 'Masculinities without Men? Female Masculinity in Twentieth- Century Fictions'

McCormack, D (2006) Book review - Jean Bobby Noble, 'Masculinities without Men? Female Masculinity in Twentieth- Century Fictions' Journal of the History of Sexuality, 15 (2). pp. 333-338.

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Jean Bobby Noble's Masculinities without Men? focuses not on clothes as the marker of gender destabilization but rather on the flesh itself. Through an exploration of a limited selection of twentieth-century fictions Noble suggests that metatextual events have the potential to produce as yet unimagined ways of inhabiting bodies. This book states its obvious indebtedness to Judith Halberstam's groundbreaking work, Female Masculinity. Where Noble's text differs is in its willingness to explore the relationship between all guises of masculinity, including masculinity performed by "men." Moreover, its aim is significantly different, in that Female Masculinity "is primarily concerned with lesbian masculinity," whereas Masculinities Without Men? "seeks a post-identity politic and, at times, post-queer, anti-heteronormative but trans-ed materialization of masculinity" (xxxix). Although Noble claims to trace a "genealogy of reading practices" (92) of female masculinity in twentieth-century fictions, the more than sixty-year gap between the publication of Radclyffe Hall's novel and the next text discussed as well as the space given to each text (for example, eighty-nine pages to The Well of Loneliness and fifteen to Boys Don't Cry) suggest less an engagement with the complexities of fictional twentieth-century representations of female masculinity and more a focus on texts that support the author's thesis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Literature
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : May 2006
DOI : 10.1353/sex.2007.0010
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2006 University of Texas Press
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:37
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 15:07

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