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Bending SteelModernity and the American Superhero$
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Aldo J. Regalado

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462210

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462210.001.0001

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Jungle Lords, Haunting Horrors, and the Big City

Jungle Lords, Haunting Horrors, and the Big City

Chapter:
(p.43) Chapter Two Jungle Lords, Haunting Horrors, and the Big City
Source:
Bending Steel
Author(s):

Aldo J. Regalado

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628462210.003.0003

This chapter discusses how earlier heroic fiction developed in the immediate post-Civil War era and into the early twentieth century as republican modernity gave way to the industrial modernity. Responding to new heights of immigration, industrialization, urbanization, mechanization, and modernization, the next generation of American authors to write heroic fiction updated earlier heroic archetypes as creative and personal responses to industrial modernity. Generally speaking, their fiction involved imaginative withdrawals from modern society that affirmed white middle-class masculinity in the face of those forces they perceived as threatening to its viability. Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan of the Apes, for instance, allowed him and his readers an imaginative escape from modern urban society. Central to this escape was a rejection of cities, technology, bureaucracy, and business culture, as well as the celebration of white, male Anglo-Saxonism over “others” defined by gender, class, race, and ethnicity. The chapter also considers the horror fiction work of H. P. Lovecraft.

Keywords:   heroic fiction, industrial modernity, middle-class masculinity, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Anglo-Saxonism, horror fiction, H.P. Lovecraft

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