Susan Fraiman deposited Realism’s Gender Wars: Masculinity Effects in Late Realist Fiction and Contemporary Reality TV on Humanities Commons 8 months, 2 weeks ago
Who gets “The Real” in realism, and what difference does gender make? Countering monolithic (and dismissive) notions of realism, I explore the competition between realisms coded as “feminine” and “masculine”—between what Frank Norris belittled as “the drama of a broken teacup” and the drama of a man struggling to survive in the wilderness. Juxtaposing Jack London’s Klondike fiction with today’s survivalist reality shows, I see these as similar efforts to put a masculine stamp on “the real.” In my reading of the History Channel’s Alone (2015- ), however, a London-esque realism of moose-killing is challenged by a realism of the daily, non-dire, and domestic. Alone’s oscillation between these modes recalls that Ur-text of literary realism in which a violent, shipwrecked man sets about reinventing the household arts.