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Modernism and the Male World: The Crisis of Masculinity in The Bed of Procustes

Publication: Analele Universității din București. Limba și literatura română, LVIII
Publisher:Editura Universității din Bucureşti
Abstract:Camil Petrescu’s novel The Bed of Procustes is emblematic of the century’s sexual anxiety and anesthesia and of the uninhabitable, fractured landscape that evokes a Procustean bed. The novel’s parallel storylines animate male homosocial desire, a crisis of masculinity, and an acute dissociation of sensibility, akin to the “hysteric” disposition of T. S. Eliot’s poetry and corresponding to his broodings in the famous essay praising the Metaphysical poets. In Petrescu’s novel, the two male protagonists – a poet, whose cultural and personal anxieties both embody and perform male hysteria, and his modernist double, whose own sexual anxiety forges an hysteric identification with the poet that transcends male homosocial bonding – reflect modern man’s aesthetic and cultural detachment and disembodiment that The Bed of Procustes, following Baudelaire, Pound, and Eliot, ultimately delineates.
Key words:modernism, homosociality, masculinity, hysteric, disembodiment, castration
Language: English

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