American Guy examines American norms of masculinity and their role in the law, bringing a range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives to the intersection of American gender, legal, and literary issues. The collection opens with a set of papers investigating "American Guys" - the heroic nonconformists and rugged individualists that populate much of American fiction. Diverse essays examine the manly men of Hemingway, Dreiser, and others, in their relation to the law, while also highlighting the underlying tensions that complicate this version of masculinity. A second set of papers examines "Outsiders" - men on the periphery of the American Guys who proclaim a different way of being male. These essays take up counter-traditions of masculinity ranging from gay male culture to Philip Roth's portrait of the Jewish lawyer. American Guy, a follow-up to Subversion and Sympathy, edited by Alison L. LaCroix and Martha Nussbaum, aims at reinvigorating the law-and-literature movement through original, cross-disciplinary insights. It embraces a variety of voices from both within and outside the academy, including several contributions from prominent judges.
These contributions are particularly significant, not only as features unique to the field, but also for the light they throw on the federal bench. In the face of a large body of work studying judicial conduct as a function of rigid commitment to ideology, American Guy shows a side of the judiciary that is imaginatively engaged, aware of cultural trends, and reflective about the wider world and the role of the of law in it.