This book explores the construction of male sexuality in nineteenth century American literature and comes up with some startling findings. Far from desiring heterosexual sex and wishing to bond with other men through fraternity, the male protagonists of classic American literature mainly want to be left alone. Greven makes the claim that American men, eschewing both marriage and male friendship, strive to remain emotionally and sexually inviolate. Examining the work of traditional authors-Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Cooper, Irving, Stowe-Greven discovers highly untraditional and transgressive representations of desire and sexuality. Objects of desire from both women and other men, the inviolate males discussed in this study overturn established gendered and sexual categories, just as this study overturns archetypal assumptions about American manhood and American literature.