This groundbreaking study maps historical similarities in fictional, cultural, and representational practices between the periods of modernism and postmodernism. Noble examines nineteenth-century sexology, drama, and trial transcripts, and late twentieth-century counter-cultural fiction, popular film and documentaries, and theoretical texts. Among the works analyzed closely are texts that have been the focus of lesbian, queer, and feminist theory: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues, and the film Boys Don't Cry. These, as Noble illustrates, make use of similar types of narratives, structures, and thematic techniques to articulate female masculinity. Also included is an exploration of Rose Tremain's Sacred Country, which has never before been studied within this context. Through a critical examination of these texts, Noble demonstrates that trans-gendered and trans-sexual masculinity began to emerge as a unique category in late twentieth-century fiction, distinct from lesbian or female masculinity.
Of interest to scholars and students with an interest in sexuality and gender studies, Masculinities without Men? also makes a vital contribution to literary criticism, as well as to cultural and film studies.
Gopinath juxtaposes diverse texts to indicate the range of oppositional practices, subjectivities, and visions of collectivity that fall outside not only mainstream narratives of diaspora, colonialism, and nationalism but also most projects of liberal feminism and gay and lesbian politics and theory. She considers British Asian music of the 1990s alongside alternative media and cultural practices. Among the fictional works she discusses are V. S. Naipaul’s classic novel A House for Mr. Biswas, Ismat Chughtai’s short story “The Quilt,” Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy, and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night. Analyzing films including Deepa Mehta’s controversial Fire and Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, she pays particular attention to how South Asian diasporic feminist filmmakers have reworked Bollywood’s strategies of queer representation and to what is lost or gained in this process of translation. Gopinath’s readings are dazzling, and her theoretical framework transformative and far-reaching.