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Drucilla Cornell: Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

Thursday, July 30th 2009 at 5:30 PM


30 July 2009 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Drucilla Cornell: Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

In this book, a major feminist philosopher engages in the work of the actor and director who has progressed from being the stereotypical ‘man’s man’ to pushing the boundaries of the very genres—the Western, the police thriller, the war or boxing movie—most associated with American masculinity. Cornell’s highly appreciative encounter with the films directed by Clint Eastwood revolve around the questions ‘What is it to be a good man?’ and ‘What is it to be, not just an ethical person, but specifically an ethical man?’ Focusing on Eastwood as a director rather than as an actor or cultural icon, she studies Eastwood in relation to major philosophical and ethical themes that have been articulated in her own life’s work. In her fresh and revealing readings of the films, Cornell takes up pressing issues of masculinity as it is caught up in the very definition of ideas of revenge, violence, moral repair, and justice. Cornell discusses films from across Eastwood’s career, from his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me to Million Dollar Baby. Cornell’s book is a work of social commentary and ethical philosophy. In a world in which we seem to be losing our grip on shared symbols, along with community itself, Eastwood’s films work with the fragmented symbols that remain to us in order to engage masculinity with the most profound moral and ethical issues facing us today.