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Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. When the Prussian-born Eugene Sandow, an international vaudeville star and bodybuilder, toured the United States in the s, Florenz Ziegfeld cannily presented him as the "Perfect Man," representing both an ancient ideal of manhood and a modern commodity extolling self-development and self-fulfillment.

Then, when Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan swung down a vine into the public eye in , the fantasy of a perfect white Anglo-Saxon male was taken further, escaping the confines of civilization but reasserting its values, beating his chest and bellowing his triumph to the world.

With Harry Houdini, the dream of escape was literally embodied in spectacular performances in which he triumphed over every kind of threat to masculine integrity -- bondage, imprisonment, insanity, and death. Kasson's liberally illustrated and persuasively argued study analyzes the themes linking these figures and places them in their rich historical and cultural context.

Men in loincloths and the crisis of modernity! What's a turn-of-the-century boy to do? Kasson Rudeness and Civility, maintains that there was a metamorphosis of masculinity in the dawning years John F. Account Options Sign in. Top charts. New arrivals. The new male vanity, recently identified by New York magazine, appears to have had a turn-of-the-century precedent.

While many upwardly mobile men today seem to be developing ''Adonis complexes'' -- satiated with gym memberships as well as plastic surgery and cosmetic buying sprees -- men in the late 's and early 's displayed a similar fascination with their bodies and the idea of physical metamorphosis. It was a phenomenon embodied, the historian John F. Kasson writes in his slight but intriguing new book, in the oft-repeated story of how President Theodore Roosevelt overcame childhood adversity, transforming ''his 'sickly, delicate,' asthmatic body into the pound muscular, barrel-chested figure of a supremely strong and energetic leader.

Kasson moves beyond ''Roosevelt's performances of manliness,'' to look at three popular figures of the day who he says represented evolving notions of masculinity: Eugen Sandow, a vaudeville performer and the father of modern bodybuilding, who was billed as the ''strongest man in the world''; Harry Houdini, the magician and escape artist known for his daring performances that ''emphasized his masculine toughness, fearlessness and invincibility''; and the fictional character Tarzan, the high-born noble savage, who incarnated ''enduring cultural fantasies about manly freedom and wildness.

It is Mr.

He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the United States and then as "Harry 'Handcuff' Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up.

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  1. Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man considers the surprisingly complex evolution in representations of the white male body in late-nineteenth-century America, during years of rapid social napotpickratmures.alsupvestraclimodukbestlicenttacta.co by:
  2. Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man beating his chest and bellowing his triumph to the world. With Harry Houdini, the dream of escape was literally embodied in spectacular performances in which he triumphed over every kind of threat to masculine integrity -- bondage, imprisonment, insanity, and death. Cited by:
  3. Jul 02,  · John F. Kasson, who teaches history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of Houdini, Tarzan and the 5/5(1).
  4. A good overview of how Sandow, Houdini, and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan influenced the views of manhood and masculinity from the late s to mid 20th century. There is some commentary on contemporary culture and masculine identity but it takes up only a small portion of the book/5.
  5. Jul 02,  · With Harry Houdini, the dream of escape was literally embodied in spectacular performances in which he triumphed over every kind of threat to masculine integrity — bondage, imprisonment, insanity, and napotpickratmures.alsupvestraclimodukbestlicenttacta.co: John F. Kasson.
  6. John F. Kasson, who teaches history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of Houdini, Tarzan and the Perfect Man, Amusing the Million, Rudeness and 4/5(1).
  7. Tarzan caught fire with a generation of urban Americans nostalgic for a less sophisticated past. But could a modern-day Tarzan survive in the urban jungle? He would need to be wilier. Enter Houdini, an exhibitionist like Sandow, who used his sex appeal to sell his illusion and escape act. Kasson doesn't really draw much of a conclusion from all this.
  8. Aug 12,  · 'Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man: The White Male Body and the Challenge of Modernity in America' - The New York Times "[Sandow] helped to reshape notions of what male bodily perfection -- and.
  9. Apr 05,  · In Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man, John Kasson argues that “manliness” is always under construction, but manliness at the turn of the century was particularly napotpickratmures.alsupvestraclimodukbestlicenttacta.co response to the emergence of corporate capitalism, the changing nature of work, urbanization, and the New Woman, three men, Eugen Sandow, Houdini, and Tarzan, helped create something called the “Revitalized Man.”.

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