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Volatile Masculinities in German and American Pop Literatures (Seminar)
March 24, 2013 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Molly Knight is Visiting Assistant Professor of German at Wake Forest University. From the 1960s to the present day, one viewpoint has occupied the center of the Pop movement and controlled Pop texts’ portrayals of cultural upheaval and disillusionment: the disturbed and damaged young man who ultimately enacts violence on himself or others in the process of self-discovery. This presentation will examine the “angry young man” as protagonist in German and American Pop fiction of the 1990s, in particular the early works of Swiss author Christian Kracht and American author Bret Easton Ellis. While both Kracht and Ellis are typically associated with Pop’s emphasis on surface and superficiality, this lecture argues that in fact this surface is constructed as a means of containing a chaotic and potentially destructive emotional force, which becomes a pervasive metaphor for contemporary masculinity, and thus the Pop novels in question systematically reinforce a pessimistic notion of what it means to be a man – and indeed, a human being – in the late 20th century.
For more information see: www.unc.edu/ncgs.
Sponsored by Carolina Seminars; the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies; the Duke and UNC Centers for European Studies; the UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities; and the Duke and UNC Departments of Germanic Languages and Literatures and History.