Masculinity was both a subtext and an explicit concern in the literary and political debates of the mid-20th century. In Pinks, Pansies, and Punks, James Penner charts the construction of masculinity within American literary culture from the 1930s to the 1970s. He examines the macho criticism that originated in the 1930s within the high modernist New York intellectual circle and tracks the issues of class struggle, anti-communism, and the clash between the Old and New Left in the 1960s. By extending literary culture to include not just novels, plays, and poetry, but diaries, journals, manifestos, essays, literary criticism, journalism, non-fiction, essays on psychology and sociology, and screenplays, Penner foregrounds the multiplicity of gender attitudes available in each of the historical moments he addresses.
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