Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
Friday 1 November 2013 12:31pm

Masculinity in contemporary New Zealand fiction

Alastair Fox


The book

The first critical study to investigate at length how masculine subjectivities are represented in contemporary New Zealand fiction.

Notoriously self-contained and private, Kiwi men are often reluctant to talk about their personal feelings and embarrassed at the thought that any private emotional difficulties could be exposed to critical examination. One must go to their imaginative literature to make contact with the reality that underlies the (often calculatedly deceptive) surface.

In his investigation of these issues, Fox demonstrates the crucial importance of Pakeha and Maori cultural predispositions influencing masculine identity in this country – often at the cost of great psychic pain for the men involved.

The author

ALASTAIR FOX is Professor of English at the University of Otago. An internationally recognised Renaissance scholar, his past publications include the English Renaissance: Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England (Blackwell, 1997), Reassessing the Henrician Age: Politics and Reform 1500–1550 (Blackwell, 1986) and Thomas More: History and Providence (Yale, 1983). More recently, Professor Fox has been writing on contemporary New Zealand culture, with The Ship of Dreams being his first book-length foray into the field of New Zealand literature.


'It is a thoughtful and erudite work and sets an interesting new direction in the study of New Zealand literature.' – NZ Books

'The real interest in The Ship of Dreams surely lies in the author's examination of the Maori-inflected text of Witi Ihimaera and Alan Duff, for ... Alistair Fox explores how the problems within New Zealand male culture reside in psychological damage inflicted by behaviours of parents that spring from aspects of Pakeha and Maori cultural legacies.' – Journal of Pacific History, 44: 3

Publication details

Paperback, 192 pages, ISBN 978 1 877372 54 4, $45
Out of print

Back to top