Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226576688 Will Publish October 2018
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226576541 Will Publish October 2018
An e-book edition will be published.

The Mourning After

Loss and Longing among Midcentury American Men

John Ibson

The Mourning After

John Ibson

272 pages | 35 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2018 
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226576688 Will Publish October 2018
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226576541 Will Publish October 2018
E-book $35.00 ISBN: 9780226576718 Will Publish October 2018
On the battlefields of World War II, with their fellow soldiers as the only shield between life and death, a generation of American men found themselves connecting with each other in new and profound ways. Back home after the war, however, these intimacies were met with scorn and vicious homophobia. The Mourning After makes sense of this cruel irony, telling the story of the unmeasured toll that was exacted upon generations of male friendships. John Ibson draws evidence from the contrasting views of male closeness depicted in WWII-era fiction by Gore Vidal and John Horne Burns, as well as from such wide-ranging sources as psychiatry texts, child development books, the memoirs of veterans’ children, and a slew of vernacular snapshots of happy male couples. In this sweeping reinterpretation of the postwar years, Ibson argues that a prolonged mourning for tenderness lost lay at the core of midcentury American masculinity, leaving far too many men with an unspoken ache that continued long after the fighting stopped, forever damaging their relationships with their wives, their children, and each other.

Preface / Sexual Identity on the Postwar Home Front: Denial’s Allure in a Repressive Era

1 Putting Space between Men: Male Relationships in Everyday Photography at Midcentury
2 War as a Cultural Timeout: The Gallery and Shifting Boundaries of Male Belonging
3 Back to Normal: Cultural Work in the Erasure of John Horne Burns
4 What It Took: Gore Vidal and the High Price of Midcentury Manliness
5 Mourning the Loss: The “Great Sullenness” and the Contours of American Manhood

Coda: Bookend for an Era

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