Reading Brokeback Mountain

Essays on the Story and the Film


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About the Book

This collection offers 15 critical essays on Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain” and its controversial film adaptation by screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana and director Ang Lee. Each essay explores the short story, the film, and the sociocultural phenomenon that followed the release of the motion picture in December 2005.
This anthology includes selections from traditional perspectives and from postmodern angles, including women’s studies, gender studies, queer studies, sexuality studies, ethnic studies, and American studies. Many of the essays focus primarily on the film, its critical reception, its stars, its director, its soundtrack, and its cultural implications.

About the Author(s)

Jim Stacy has retired as a professor of theatre and communication studies at Louisiana State University at Alexandria. He has directed and acted in many plays and published widely in theatrical journals. He now lives in Yucca Valley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jim Stacy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3044-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5529-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vii

Preface      1

1. Arcadia and the Passionate Shepherds of Brokeback Mountain      5

2. Proulx’s Pastoral: Brokeback Mountain as Sacred Space      19

3. Buried in the Family Plot: The Cost of Pattern Maintenance to Ennis and Jack      29

4. Love and Death in an American Story: A “Vulgar” Reading of Brokeback Mountain      45

5. The “Gay Film” That Wasn’t: The Heterosexual Supplement in Brokeback Mountain      59

6. Gay Cowboys Close to Home: Ennis Del Mar on the Q.T.      71

7. “When This Thing Grabs Hold of Us…”: Spatial Myth, Rhetoric, and Conceptual Blending in Brokeback Mountain      88

8. From “Nature’s Love” to Natural Love: Brokeback Mountain, Universal Identification, and Gay Politics      106

9. Broke(n)back Faggots: Hollywood Gives Queers a Hobson’s Choice      118

10. Brokeback Mountain at the Oscars      135

11. Whiteness of a Different Kind of Love: Letting Race and Sexuality Talk      152

12. The Queerness of Country: Brokeback’s Soundscape      163

13. Performing “Lonesome Cowboy” and “Jack Nasty”: The Stars’ Negotiation of Norms and Desires      178

14. Lessons Learned on Brokeback Mountain: Expanding the Possibilities of American Manhood      188

15. Love and Silence, Penguins and Possibility      205

Select Bibliography      221

About the Contributors      227

Index      231

Book Reviews & Awards

“crack it open and learn a thing or two. There are many long discussions and debates waiting inside this book”—Scarlett.