DRIVING WYOMING INTO MY BLOOD AND MARROW AND FIXING IT THERE”: THE MALE BODY AT THE IMPERIAL FRONTIER IN THE FICTION OF OWEN WISTER

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Abstract

This article examines how concerns about American interventions in Cuba and the Philippines in 1898 are figured through the White male body in Owen Wister’s novels. Lin McLean and The Virginian are contextualized within a contemporary discourse employed by Theodore Roosevelt that connected a corporeal construction of masculinity with strong nationhood. However, Wister’s fiction demonstrates problems in defining the White male body at the frontier and suggests that the desire for conquest stems from fears of bodily weakness, rather than the virile male form. The evasion of violence against the male body throughout
both novels suggests that Wister was troubled by the effects of imperial activity on the male body politic and the bodies of individual men.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-61
JournalCulture, Society and Masculinities
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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