Revisions of the American Adam Innocence, Identity and Masculinity in Twentieth Century America

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-10-24
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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The figure of the American Adam is a prevalent myth in US cultural history. Defined by R.W.B. Lewis in 1955 as "the hero of new adventure . . .an individual standing alone, self-reliant and self-propelling, ready to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his own unique and
inherent resources", the figure is discernable in the American renaissance writers and in the imagery of the frontiersman, cowboy, gangster as well as in the heroes of US action movies.

Focusing on the American Adam as a paradigm of masculine identity formation, this monograph examines how this fantasy of an imaginary ideal identity has held an ideological sway over US identity in the main. Taking in a range of cultural texts, Jonathan Mitchell's study explores
the complexities and contradictions of Adam's ‘real' condition of existence to show how the paradigm influences both masculinity and subsequently hegemonic US identity as represented throughout twentieth-century US culture.

Author Biography

Jonathan Mitchell is a lecturer in the School of American Studies, University of East Anglia, UK.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements \ 1. The Fall, Amongst Other Things \ 2. Postcards from the Frontier \ 3. 'The Hero in the Modern World' \ 4. From War to Love. . . \ 5. . . . and Back Again \ 6. Embattled America \ Notes \ Bibliography \ Index

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