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Bildung Blocks: Problematic Masculinities in Stendhal

Boalick, Aaron R. (2007) Bildung Blocks: Problematic Masculinities in Stendhal. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study of Stendhal and the Bildungsroman extends theoretical work by John Smith that draws attention to the relationship between the idea of bildung as it is established by its critics and the construction of masculine identity in the male subject. Inflected by gender theory, my investigation does not attempt to contribute to genre studies, but rather to strengthen a theoretical approach to texts dealing with formation and coming-of-age narratives that exposes their rapport with gender socialization and normalization. I implement this approach to perform a reading of three of Stendhal's major novels that ultimately intends to identify their dismantling of the Bildungsroman through their problematization of idealized French heteronormative masculinity. In order to accomplish this task, I first examine a classic work of scholarship on the Bildungsroman by Jerome Buckley, and I then move on to an analysis of more recent critical studies of bildung, all of which contribute to the establishment of a general idea of the outline of the genre while acknowledging its contradictions and instabilities. I examine parallels between the oscillating construction of the genre as a coherent type constantly under threat of collapsing into itself, and the tenuous formation of its protagonist as a uomo universale. Finally, I am concerned with questioning the Bildungsroman theorists' conflicted yet confirmed incorporation of three of Stendhal's novels into the genre, proving that, in fact, Stendhal rejects the idea of bildung. My new readings of these narratives incorporates important advances in gender theory by Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick to demonstrate how Beyle refuses to construct idealized boy-ivbecomes-man masculine fictions, even while creating narratives that are extremely similar in content to what are considered typical Bildungsromans. Stendhal challenges idealized masculinity itself in his representations of the young male protagonists in three of his major novels. I describe these works as non-Bildungsromans that problematize the goals of bildung's supportive critics and their aspirations for the category that they struggle to construct.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Boalick, Aaron
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairReeser, Todd Wreeser@pitt.eduREESER
Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.eduMECCHIA
Committee MemberDobelbower,
Committee MemberBlumenfeld-Kosinski, Renaterenate@pitt.eduRENATE
Date: 16 July 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 March 2007
Approval Date: 16 July 2007
Submission Date: 14 July 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bildungsroman; bildungsroman and masculinity; Fabrice del Dongo; french masculinities; gender performativity; gender studies; homosociality; italian imaginary; Julien Sorel; La Chartreuse de Parme; Le Rouge et le Noir; Lucien Leuwen; masculine performances; masculine sexual politics; napoleon; napoleon and french masculinities; nineteenth century french studies; The Charterhouse of Parma; The Red and the Black
Other ID:, etd-07142007-185516
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:51
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:45


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