Robert Bly's "Iron John" Book Review by immortal

Robert Bly's "Iron John"
A critical examination of the male poet Robert Bly's "Iron John".
# 47509 | 3,470 words | 16 sources | MLA | 2002 | AU

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This article is a critical and scathing review of poet Robert Bly's attempt at a non-fiction, self-help book for men. Included is an examination, as an aspect of Bly's work, of the mytho-poetic men's movement. The article outlines Bly's contentions within the book, which revolve around a self-conceived crisis in masculinity and his solutions for resolving and restoring masculinity for men. This essay examines Bly's assumptions regarding masculinity and the way in which he signifies patriarchal domination and misogyny toward women as a solution to the masculine 'crisis'. It examines general essentialist theory, extending to a discussion of Jungian archetypes as an example of essentialism.

From the Paper:

"How is it possible, in today's gender aware society, that the writing of one author can be simultaneously described as "expos[ing] ... patriarchal domination" and "blocked by ... sexist stereotypes" " This is the conundrum which surrounds Robert Bly, his nonfiction text "Iron John: A Book About Men" (Bly 1999), and the mythopoetic men's movement which has sprung up as a result of Bly's work with, what he terms, "soft males" (Bly 1999: p.2). All three have focused on reclaiming masculinity; a masculinity which, according to Bly, is not only in crisis, but with which there is "something wrong" (p.2). However, in the task of reclaiming a truer form of masculinity for men, is it possible that Bly is simply reasserting his idea of patriarchal domination as a defensive response to feminism (Connell 1992: p.31)" Or does Bly indeed, as he claims, not wish to return men to the "domineering mode that has led to the repression of women" (p. x) " To ascertain the answer to this question, it is vital to return to the source and examine the foundations upon which Bly bases his contentions and solutions regarding the supposed masculinity in crisis."

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