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Serial masculinity: psychopathology and oedipal violence in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho

Schoene, Berthold (2008) Serial masculinity: psychopathology and oedipal violence in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. MFS Modern fiction studies, 54 (2). pp. 378-397. ISSN 0026-7724

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Abstract

This essay carries out an expressly gender-specific analysis of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, showing how the novel pathologizes modern masculinity by identifying its most characteristic traits as symptoms of a variety of psychopathologies, mental disorders and cognitive impairments. Traditional masculinity is read as a residual, ideologically motivated gender construct that – by endorsing and legitimizing the realization of certain, possibly genetic, male dispositions as a fixed set of behavioral norms and imperatives – promotes the genesis a type of male subjectivity that displays conspicuous similarities particularly to Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism.

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