The Mourning After: Loss and Longing Among Midcentury American Men

TitleThe Mourning After: Loss and Longing Among Midcentury American Men
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsIbson, John
Number of Pages272
PublisherThe University of Chicago Press

 The Mourning After picks up where the author’s acclaimed Picturing Men left off, showing how everyday photographs of males together in the years after the war documented an increasing space between males, and a certain somberness found even among American boys. The book then considers literature as cultural evidence, examining the shift in how intimacy between males was received by readers of the work of John Horne Burns... from the war abroad to the postwar home front. Ibson then contrasts Burns’s fate with the postwar fortunes of Gore Vidal. In this sweeping reinterpretation of the postwar years, Ibson marshals diverse evidence-- from popular culture, a notorious murder, psychiatry, child development advice, and memoirs of the children of World War II veterans, for instance-- to make his case that a prolonged postwar mourning, along with pervasive guilt, occupied the very center of midcentury American masculinity, giving all too many American males a widespread sense of longing that continues into the present.

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