• Realism’s Gender Wars: Masculinity Effects in Late Realist Fiction and Contemporary Reality TV

    Author(s):
    Susan Fraiman (see profile)
    Date:
    2022
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    realism, Jack London, reality TV, Man vs. Wild, gender and narrative
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/4ee8-zg89
    Abstract:
    Who gets “The Real” in realism, and what difference does gender make? Countering monolithic (and dismissive) notions of realism, I explore the competition between realisms coded as “feminine” and “masculine”—between what Frank Norris belittled as “the drama of a broken teacup” and the drama of a man struggling to survive in the wilderness. Juxtaposing Jack London’s Klondike fiction with today’s survivalist reality shows, I see these as similar efforts to put a masculine stamp on “the real.” In my reading of the History Channel’s Alone (2015- ), however, a London-esque realism of moose-killing is challenged by a realism of the daily, non-dire, and domestic. Alone’s oscillation between these modes recalls that Ur-text of literary realism in which a violent, shipwrecked man sets about reinventing the household arts.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    Attribution

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