Ecce HomoThe Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure

Ecce HomoThe Male-Body-in-Pain as Redemptive Figure

Kent L. Brintnall

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226074696

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Images of suffering male bodies permeate Western culture, from Francis Bacon's paintings and Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs to the battered heroes of action movies. Drawing on perspectives from a range of disciplines—including religious studies, gender and queer studies, psychoanalysis, art history, and film theory—this book explores the complex, ambiguous meanings of the enduring figure of the male-body-in-pain. Acknowledging that representations of men confronting violence and pain can reinforce ideas of manly tenacity, it also argues that they reveal the vulnerability of men's bodies and open them up to eroticization. Locating the roots of our cultural fascination with male pain in the crucifixion, the book analyzes the way narratives of Christ's death and resurrection both support and subvert cultural fantasies of masculine power and privilege. Through readings of works by Georges Bataille, Kaja Silverman, and more, it delineates the redemptive power of representations of male suffering and violence.