Leading with the Chin: Writing American Masculinities in Esquire, 1960–1989

By Brad Congdon

© 2018

Leading with the Chin focuses on the Esquire writings of James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer, and Tim O’Brien to examine how these authors negotiated important shifts in American masculinity. Using the works of these six authors as case studies, Leading with the Chin argues that Esquire permitted writers to confront national fantasies of American masculinity as they were impacted by the rise of neoliberalism, civil rights and gay rights, and the cultural dominance of the professional-managerial class.

Applying the methodologies of periodical studies and the theoretical concerns of masculinity studies, this book recontextualizes the prose and fiction of these authors by analyzing them in the material context of the magazine. Relating each author’s articulation of masculinity to the advertisements, editorials, and articles published in each issue, Leading with the Chin shows that Esquire reflected and helped to shape the forces that structured American masculinity in the twentieth century.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004824

  • PUBLISHED NOV 2018

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781487522162
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2018

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    Regular Price: $80.00

    ISBN 9781487502751
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2018

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    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

Leading with the Chin is a fascinating examination of the changing representations of twentieth-century masculinity in Esquire, America’s oldest men’s interest magazine.

Leading with the Chin: Writing American Masculinities in Esquire, 1960–1989

By Brad Congdon

© 2018

Leading with the Chin focuses on the Esquire writings of James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer, and Tim O’Brien to examine how these authors negotiated important shifts in American masculinity. Using the works of these six authors as case studies, Leading with the Chin argues that Esquire permitted writers to confront national fantasies of American masculinity as they were impacted by the rise of neoliberalism, civil rights and gay rights, and the cultural dominance of the professional-managerial class.

Applying the methodologies of periodical studies and the theoretical concerns of masculinity studies, this book recontextualizes the prose and fiction of these authors by analyzing them in the material context of the magazine. Relating each author’s articulation of masculinity to the advertisements, editorials, and articles published in each issue, Leading with the Chin shows that Esquire reflected and helped to shape the forces that structured American masculinity in the twentieth century.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Leading with the Chin is a major contribution to research in the field of masculinity studies. In the current climate in which discussions of toxic masculinity have become more frequent and urgent, Brad Congdon’s book is relevant and timely."


    Maggie McKinley, Department of English, Harper College

    "Leading with the Chin hones in on a key genre—the middlebrow magazine—as it enabled and disavowed dominant and emergent forms of masculinity. As much as scholars in US modernism have demonstrated how vital magazine culture was for pre-1945 experimental writing, Brad Congdon does the same for the post-World War II era. This is important recovery work for a genre often neglected by the field."


    Scott Herring, Department of English, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Author Information

    Brad Congdon received his PhD from Dalhousie University, where he is an Instructor in Gender & Women’s Studies and English.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: The Crisis of Masculinity and the Problem of Identity

    1. American Dreams, Gendered Nightmares
    2. Cooling It with James Baldwin
    3. Low‐Rent Tragedies of Beset Manhood
    4. True Men and Queer Spaces in Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers
    5. Sexual Fallout in Tim O’Brien’s The Nuclear Age
    6. Don DeLillo in the American Kitchen

    Conclusion: How to Be a Man