The Corvette in Literature and Culture

Symbolic Dimensions of America’s Sports Car


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About the Book

As the original American sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette has come to represent power, freedom and sexuality for more than half a century. Yet it also hints at personal identity and style, suggesting how effectively values and meaning are communicated through an object. Using various critical perspectives, this close analysis of this highly recognizable automobile finds diverse aspects of American culture revealed. Topics covered include the Corvette in literature; its ties to masculine identity, including homosexuality, as well as female sexuality; and the Corvette as artistic object, among others.

About the Author(s)

Jerry W. Passon has taught in a range of educational environments. His interests include automobiles, literature and film. He lives in Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Jerry W. Passon
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 262
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos (17 in color), notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6284-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8940-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Part I—The Corvette: The Empty, the American, and the Deadly Signifier

 1. Automobility 11

 2. The Deadly Signifier 20

 3. The Corvette: A Scholarly Review 28

 4. The Corvette in Literature: Selected Examples 35

Part II—The Image of Potency: The Corvette, Males, and Minorities

 5. The Masculine Object 49

 6. Automobility, White Masculinity, and Patriarchy 53

 7. The Corvette and the Media 64

 8. The Sting Ray, the Space Race, and Masculine Technology 74

 9. The Corvette and Black Masculinity 88

10. Gay Masculinity, Automobility, and “Other” Identities 103

Between pages 116 and 117 are 8 color plates containing 17 images

Part III—Women, Sex, and Identity as Power: The Corvette, Baddest Mother of Them All

11. The Gendered Object 119

12. The “Female” Corvette and the Struggle for Freedom and Identity 123

13. The Female Gaze and New Identities 146

14. Empowered Women and the “Resignified” Corvette 158

15. Dreams, Romance, and the “Endless” Corvette 163

Part IV—The Corvette as Art: The Expressive Image

16. Images with Power 171

17. The Corvette as Concept: The Automobile as “Art” 178

18. The Corvette Image in Advertising and Media: Beyond Route 66 187

19. The Art of Design: The Fashionable Corvette 199

20. The Corvette as Art: Examples and Theories 204

Conclusion: The Corvette, Image and Object 217

Works Cited 225

Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating points about why we view Corvettes as we do”—Hemmings Classic Car; “examines the symbolic role the Corvette has played in literature and culture”—