Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Ebb-Tide (1894) presents perhaps the most intensively elaborated and intensely anxious treatment of masculine identity and relations between men in an oeuvre enduringly preoccupied with these interimplicated issues. In its representations of fractured masculine subjectivities and a homosociality fraught with compounded aggressive and libidinal impulses, Stevenson's work may be located within a wide range of fictions that dramatize the late nineteenth-century "crisis" within masculinity. More specifically, in The Ebb-Tide, which is set in the colonized Pacific, an account of the instabilities of conventional masculinity overlaps with an account of the instabilities of the imperialist project. In this essay, I suggest The Ebb-Tide's representation of masculine crisis might be understood as a manifestation of what Christopher Lane has named "colonial jouissance."
ANZSRC / FoR Code
2005 LITERARY STUDIES