The seemingly unimpeachable assumption that emotional and sexual forces must be set flowing constructs a blocked masculinity in order to legitimize various forms of release and, thus, to recuperate a masculinity that has suffered from the feminist critique of male power and privilege. The biologistic slant of men's liberation discourse, echoed by popular sexologies intent upon negotiating the feminist challenges to a particular construction of male heterosexuality, has the effect of naturalizing both a set of social relations and a narrowly conceived construction of the male body and the male psyche. Men's liberation discourse conflates emotional, sexual and violent "release" and suggests that men will suffer psychic and physiological wounds if no "outlet" can be found. Implicitly, if not explicitly, contemporary masculinity is diagnosed as hysterical, and the male body the canvas on which repressed trauma is written. The body "speaks" men's

discontent, much as the feminist analysis of hysteria has suggested that the female body "speaks" the woman's oppression under patriarchy. The intertwining of the sexual with the emotional furthers such a diagnosis, as the men's liberationists represent men as torn between a "natural" imperative toward sexuality and a social imperative toward restraint. A disturbance in the field of sexuality, thus, codes a political trauma that the men's liberationists are loath to admit. The reluctance to blame women or feminism for men's disempowerment, then, can be read as a reluctance to trace the crisis of masculinity to the political. In this sense, male hysteria itself becomes both subject of, and subject g to, repression in the discourse of male liberation. o

The political realignments of this era form the more or less invisible backdrop to James Dickey's 1970 novel and, like the liberationist guide-I g books with which the novel shares a context, Deliverance is intent upon psychologizing the trauma its protagonists endure, and prescribing a personal, rather than social, "cure." The narrative follows pretty closely the men's liberation narrative, offering a diagnosis of blocked I 3 masculinity and a prescription for release. Critics of the novel have liberally used the language of repression and expression, blockage and 1^ release, to describe the narrative's treatment of male violence and the i encounter with the "primitive" elements of human nature. James Griffith notes the major motif of "constipation, choking, and blocking" in the novel, and Michael Glenday points to the novel's representation of its narrator Ed as seeking "release from the alienation of his business life" (1984, 151) and from the "disabling stresses of city life" (153). The novel cloaks the contemporary crisis of white masculinity in an atavistic, ahistorical language of elemental impulses and their blockage, and the struggle over the meanings of dominant masculinity takes place not on a social stage, but rather as a battle between primitivism and civilization. For Dickey, the route toward remasculinization flows through the body, as the novel attempts to recover a biologistic essence of maleness that has been tamped down, or blocked, by civil society. Ed gets revitalized and remasculinized in the woods, having incorporated the experience of violence into his own body. The wounds he suffers during the trip are key to his remasculinization, as his earlier blockage gives way to an orgy of "release" that conflates the violent with the sexual, and frames his killing of the mountain man as *^' a sexual and remasculinizing experience.