Ten Years of Kill List
'Part modern folk tale with dark carnival influences and part exploration of the damaged male psyche'; Caitlyn Downs explores the mythos amid the horror in Ben Wheatley's 2011 sophomore film, Kill List...
**This essay contains spoilers**
It is difficult to imagine talking about the last decade in British horror without mentioning Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s Kill List (2012). Hitting screens to both plaudits and criticism, the blend of crime, horror and even kitchen-sink drama undoubtedly made an impact. Perhaps one of the most enduring aspects of the film as it turns ten years old this year is the lack of any confirmed, creator-approved, concrete explanation for the film’s events. By not divulging the ‘correct’ reading of the film, Kill List has created a vacuum in which anyone can stamp their meanings and explanations on it. In the interests of full disclosure, I adore this film and my experience of seeing it with only a few people in the cinema (minus a few walkouts) is one I value tremendously. With its gaps in explanations and shocking conclusion, Kill List makes for a rattling, unsettling experience. Ten years after the release, it still retains that sense of unease and invites viewers to look at all the clues. All this is a preface to me not claiming that my take is the definitive one, but it is one I keep returning to on every revisit and the themes that have grabbed me and refuse to let go. A plot synopsis and spoilers follow.
Kill List follows Jay (Neil Maskell) and Gal (Michael Smiley), two hitmen who take on a strange job that descends into darkness. The film is bookended by the carving of a strange symbol onto the screen. The film begins with Jay and his wife, Shel (MyAnna Buring) in the middle of an argument. Concerns about their finances and that Jay has not worked in some time are quickly revealed as the reasons for their conflict. A later dinner party blow up sees Gal take their son Sam (Harry Simpson) away from the confrontation. Gal’s plus one at the dinner, Fiona (Emma Fryer) excuses herself to the bathroom, where she carves a strange symbol on the back of the mirror. During the dinner, Gal tells Jay about a new job for them. Both men meet up the following day and Gal informs him that Fiona has left him before they travel to a hotel to speak to the organisation behind the job. Their contract is made when The Client (Struan Rodger) slashes Jay’s hand, as well as his own with a knife. The pair are given their list, starting with THE PRIEST (Gareth Tunley). Just before Jay shoots him, THE PRIEST thanks him, suggesting that this is not a straightforward hit. While investigating their second target, THE LIBRARIAN (Mark Kempner), they find a lockup containing pornographic material and a video (unseen by the audience) that visibly disturbs them. Jay seeks to take out his anger on THE LIBRARIAN and brutally attacks him with a hammer. THE LIBRARIAN thanks him while Gal has left the room and is glad to have met him.
After killing him, Jay decides to go to an address they find and sets about killing the people there too. Afterwards, he sees Fiona outside the hotel room, waving at him. Returning home, Jay finds that Fiona has been spending time with Shel, despite not having spoken to Gal. He shows Shel that the cut on his hand is infected and spreading to a rash on his body. He visits a doctor who issues cryptic advice but offers no help for the wound. Gal looks through the information he took from THE LIBRARIAN’s house and finds that the organisation has been watching them for some time. Around the same time, Jay’s pet cat is found hanging from the front door, prompting Shel and Sam to flee for safety. Jay and Gal return to speak to THE CLIENT to try and back out of the job. Their request is refused, and they resign themselves to taking out the final target, THE MP. While scouting on the grounds around the house, Jay and Gal witness a procession of people in wicker masks and a ritual hanging. Disturbed by the sight, Jay fires at the group, who then pursue them through tunnels. During the chase, Gal is badly wounded, and Jay is forced to shoot him out of mercy. Returning to the cottage with Shel and Sam, a distraught Jay is soon aware that the flaming torches are also outside, indicating that he has been followed. He returns to the wooded area around the house and is hit in the back of the head. Meanwhile, Shel protects the house from multiple intruders. The next time the film cuts to Jay he is being forced into a circle of the cult members, stripped of his shirt and given a wicker mask, his hand is cut and he is given a knife. THE HUNCHBACK is introduced to the circle, waving a weapon from under a sheet. Jay attacks the figure, stabbing it repeatedly. The sheet is pulled away, and the figure is revealed to be Shel, carrying Sam on her back. As the realisation of what he has done sinks in, Jay is given a crown while the cult applauds around him.
Kill List succeeds in wrongfooting the audience by swerving from a drama to a crime film and through to an ending that would feel more at home in folk horror. The score by Jim Williams adds considerably to the disquieting effect that the whole film has. The editing allows displaced dialogue to flow over scenes and increases in pace as the film progresses, producing a disorientating feeling that echoes the experience of the characters. Speaking of echoes, Kill List repeats words, movements and themes throughout the film, changing their emphasis and meaning. The cast is excellent, with Neil Maskell embodying the barely concealed rage of Jay. His chemistry with Michael Smiley’s Gal is excellent and allows the pair to engage in the small moments of dark humour the film provides. Aside from the main pair, MyAnna Buring’s performance adds further depth to all their relationships, both in terms of what is and (more importantly) not said. While the seemingly abrupt genre shifts may not carry all viewers along with them, their power for those still on board cannot be overstated.
Although director Ben Wheatley and writer Amy Jump have remained tight-lipped about all the mysteries of Kill List, Wheatley has remarked that the film is ‘a war movie, really’ and it is through that context that yields the richest reading, particularly in Jay’s evolution throughout the film, led largely by his internal ideas about masculinity. While it is possible to unpick the meanings behind the list’s targets as having a wider social and cultural relevance, it is key to examine Jay as the driving force behind the film’s events. The Reconstruction that THE CLIENT refers to is not a reconstruction of society, but Jay and the social contract of his life. The early dinner party scene sets out the majority of the film’s themes and primary concerns. It is key that Fiona, the HR figure who describes tackling ‘underperforming’ departments targets Jay, especially when initial scenes with his wife and son about his back pain and lack of work feel like a particularly damaging performance review. That Fiona later inserts herself into Jay’s life, both in terms of a friendship with Shel and spectral appearances outside hotel room windows cements the importance of her critical eye and impact on Jay.
During the dinner party, Jay and Gal reference their military service. Nostalgia is huge for Jay in this context. He romanticises King Arthur and laments that he was not involved in World War Two conflict. His attractions to these periods are based on what he takes as more simplistically moral times that he understands. The recession-hit, thankless place he finds himself in is at odds with his fantasy of an England ruled by the rules he aspires to. Jay’s relationship with this fantasy masculinity is complex: an ideal but also a threat. The treatment of the Iraq war and particularly the UK involvement in it holds a great deal of dissonance. Now regarded as deeply unpopular and unnecessary, it is useful to consider that at the time, many more people supported it than would admit to now. This Independent article shares that while 54 per cent of people supported the war at the time of the invasion in 2003, just 37 per cent of people polled today recall supporting it’. That the opinion has shifted so quickly has implications for how those people returning from the conflict would be treated. Jay’s lament on World War Two exists, primarily because it represents, even in a contemporary setting, an event in which the UK represented a strong moral position that does not have the same level of scrutiny applied. Indeed, when telling Sam a bedtime story, he refers to two noble figures undertaking duties in a place called Baghdadistan – an amalgamation of place names, either out of shame, as a further metaphor for the confused feelings about that conflict and its purpose or as a way to feel closer to the myths that Sam demands from his stories. When Jay talks about the conflict at the dinner table, he states that it is ‘difficult for a man to know where he stands’ in the current situation. That Jay and Gal took up service in a war that was contested, but largely supported but now viewed with a sense of shame, despite the mental and physical damage done has wounded them both. It is possible to see Jay’s back pain and temper and Gal’s coughing and resistance to violence as representations of what they have been through.
Jay’s nostalgia is also focused on figures like King Arthur and by extension, the concept of chivalry, a theme the film regularly nods towards. During Jay and Shel’s film opening argument, Sam is seen to play with a castle and knight toy set and later Jay references buying a puppy that would either be named Arthur or Gwinny. In that earlier argument, Jay has frivolously bought toy swords for the family to play with. That their play with swords is echoed in the film’s shocking finale is a further hint that Jay’s affection for Arthurian legend is something that cannot find a place in the real world but informs much of his internal crisis. When his son Sam asks for a story about King Arthur, Jay offers him a different story, claiming, ‘Mine’s better.’ In doing so, he realises his difference from those figures but seeks to comfort himself by elevating his own story. In Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present, figures like King Arthur’s masculinities are said to be so ‘naturalized and lionized as to appear eternal truths of male honor, morality and virtue’. The text also highlights that Arthurian legends concern ‘Golden Age Britain, one in which disparate factions have united to protect the land. The Britain of Kill List and especially Jay’s situation is about as far from a united, heroic place as it is possible to be and so his clinging to those ideas further damages him. Although King Arthur is, of course, a mythical figure, the idea that there could have been a man like him has resonance. The power of this is obvious, with Medievalisms again providing the context – ‘if they once lived in the past, their achievements can be realized again in the present, inspiring many aficionados of their legends with visions of morally triumphant masculinity’. It may sound strange to state that Jay is an intensely moral man considering his work, but he is consumed by it. Following his violent outburst at the lockup, he explains to Gal, ‘It doesn’t feel wrong. They were bad people. They should suffer’. Throughout the film, Gal’s concern appears to be purely financial, indulging Jay’s bloodlust while not partaking in violence until necessary. During Jay’s assault on THE LIBRARIAN, there is a cut to Gal counting the money from the safe, detaching himself from the situation.
With the repeated nods to King Arthur and the undercurrent of chivalry that runs throughout Kill List, it is worth pointing out that ritual and ceremony are a large part of these stories and quests. However, a more fitting folk view of Kill List is to consider it in terms of tales from Rabelais. Rabelais created the characters of Gargantua and Pantagruel and used them to evoke the carnivalesque. Mikhail Bakhtin is the primary source for analysing Rabelais’ writings and how they came to represent a politically tumultuous time by presenting worlds that were turned upside down. In this sense, it is possible to consider Kill List as a modern carnivalesque text and in taking on the social and cultural background, situating it in those terms does not feel like a stretch. Bakhtin emphasizes the way that carnival culture seeks to mock the crowning of kings and other ceremonies by making their parodies, noting, ‘minor occasions were also marked by comic protocol’, solely ‘for laughter’s sake (roi pour rire/King for laughs)’. The fact that Shel laughs before Jay is crowned supports this idea, however dark the laughter is, the scene is played as a punchline. The idea that the cult has chosen to do this for the sake of ceremony within a tumultuous time purely for entertainment is a seductive one and adds yet another layer of darkness to this already pitch-black tale. These games, as found in carnival texts and practices presented life as ‘a miniature play’ that ‘drew the players out of the bounds of everyday life, liberated them from usual laws and regulations’ – a further nod to the severing of social contracts that Jay undergoes throughout. It helps that folk horror has a tradition of the hero (or antihero, in Jay’s case) being led to an inevitable fate entirely by his actions. This is most keenly observed in The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973) where Edward Woodward’s righteous Sergeant Howie meets his fate in a similarly downbeat ending, manipulated by a cult, but with his nature making him a far easier target to manipulate. The fool turned King is a popular one within that festive tradition as it acts out against authority. Further to the idea of the carnivalesque is that there is a constant sense of downward movement with all details ‘directed toward the underworld, both earthly and bodily’. Moments in Kill List where Jay stares directly into the fire bathes his blood-stained face under a red light and even the movement through the tunnel take on a sense of descent into an underworld, both in Jay’s mind and the darker activities of the festival. That Gal is eviscerated by the cult speaks to the preoccupation with the bowels, moving downwards and turning inside out.
The 2008 financial crisis also plays a part and Kill List, along with The Glass Man (Cristian Solimeno, 2011) are both British horror films that look at the role of finances, work and providing within the context of that crisis and the darkness that comes from it. Both are concerned with the way that masculinities built on that idea of being a provider, protector and how the rupture in that sense of self leads to the unravelling of the men behind them and the kind of deals they will strike to escape. Notably, in Kill List, the financial concerns are given value. Jay and Shel’s argument focuses on how £40,000 has been used up within 8 months. While I was only able to find figures for 2020 (a similarly tumultuous financial time), the average household income in the UK is £30,800. This, along with the suggestion from Jay that they use the holiday money to fix the jacuzzi is an indication of a relatively comfortable financial situation that affords them some luxuries, yet not too extravagant. That the family have a cottage to flee to is also an indication that their financial hardship is a recent occurrence and one related to luxuries, rather than the desperation to pay bills. Rather than the finances causing the issue for Shel, it seems to be Jay’s reluctance to work. She tells him that there is no problem with his back and that it is in his head. He is openly criticised by her (and by extension, his son). Later, when a card is declined at the hotel, he argues with Shel, crucially mentioning that she has made him ‘look a mug’ before the fact that it draws attention to their far more worrying business meeting. On the other hand, Shel also criticises him for being away for too long, lamenting that Jay often works away for so long that she feels like a single mother. Jay is caught by his situation: his propensity for violence means that working as a hitman is the only thing that works for him, but the work furthers his instability, meaning he is unable to do anything else. When burning evidence, Jay comments that he always loved looking at fires as a child, an indication that his destructive nature has always been present. Gal also comments to Jay that the sign of a good painter and decorator is ‘clean overalls’, referencing the mess that Jay repeatedly causes. Jay agrees, but again, continues to act impulsively. He is so informed and led by violence that his descent is already underway even before the organisation take him on. Their lifestyle is provided by his violence. The early dinner party also has the characters reference how much more glamorous the recession of the 1980s was, again showing reverence for nostalgia, despite the problems of the period.
Rising death tolls at home and abroad, terror attacks and financial upheaval all create a deep sense of unease and of people becoming victims of things they have no control over. In 2009, the MP’s expenses scandal breaks, adding a further sense that the government could not be trusted and were not enduring the same financial hardships as the general public. This idea of an organisation structuring society for their benefit at significant human cost weighs on Kill List. This is explicitly referenced within the film as Jay and Gal sit in the woods outside THE MP’s house, agreeing that ‘one man living in all that’ is not right. Even a small, comic moment where Gal tells Sam that he should never drink water because the government put chemicals in the water to shrink balls, hints at how little both Jay and Gal engage with and trust in organisations. Gal loses his temper with the organisation they work for after he and Jay are called ‘cogs’ by THE CLIENT. This reduction of himself to a small, moving part with no control is the only time that Gal completely loses his patience. While he and Jay descend into physical scuffling twice within the film, they set boundaries for their violence against one another, a sense of control lost when those who seek to exert power over him have taken control. The discovery of the surveillance THE CLIENT has had them under is also a trigger for Gal, a further suggestion of his mistrust of being watched and controlled. Jay, meanwhile, is a foregone conclusion, meeting the expectations of the cult every time by giving in to his impulsive and violent instincts. That Jay and Gal frequently butt heads over Jay keeping secrets from Shel is further evidence of Gal’s aversion to conspiracy.
Each of the characters that Jay encounters can be seen to represent an element of the social contract that he spends the whole film gradually eroding and opting out of. THE PRIEST is an obvious one, especially given that only Jay can bring himself to carry out the killing. Gal pauses at the door as they wait for him to finish the service and shows reverence to the cassock that hangs there. Where the concept of religion is felt is during the early dinner party, with Shel refusing a prayer at the outset of the meal with a firm, ‘not at my table’. A conversation about The Troubles highlights how little religion is a part of any of the character’s lives, other than Gal’s. Jay’s outright hostility toward religion is exposed during the scene where he and Gal eat in the hotel restaurant. The scene is one of the funnier moments within the film, especially as Gal is quite clearly enjoying himself watching Jay and the delivery of the two actors simply could not be better. Wheatley mentions in the commentary that Jay would ‘offer God out’, an illustration that Jay’s anger is completely unrestrained.
THE LIBRARIAN presents multiple potential meanings. Perhaps simplistically, the library is a site of knowledge, but that knowledge is curated, catalogued and presented. While THE LIBRARIAN in Kill List is not creating or cataloguing knowledge, there is a collection of entirely unpalatable content in the lockup. What is on the video that Jay and Gal watch is never revealed, but what is key is how they both respond to it. Gal’s reaction is to immediately look away, distance himself from it and warn Jay. Jay, meanwhile, watches, clearly becoming more and more distressed by the material yet seemingly unable to look away. The scene focuses on Jay’s face, contorting into tears and disbelief at what he is seeing. This reaction explains so much about their differences in the face of trauma and why Jay is constantly so raw. The theme of finding material that cannot be unseen is certainly one that strikes a chord with two former servicemen dealing with trauma.
The presence of THE MP (James Nickerson) serves an obvious purpose, especially as the film comments specifically on the unfairness of his financial and societal status. That the pair witness the cult’s procession through the MP’s grounds feels symbolic of the conspiracies that particularly Gal has been concerned about throughout the film. Jay is presented as areligious and apolitical while being actively hostile toward both, but the critique of the politicians is so pointed as to become unimportant – much like THE MP himself. He is rather unceremoniously shot when Jay opens fire after the ritual hanging takes place but kickstarts the pursuit through the tunnels by the other members of the cult. More interestingly in terms of the scrapping of the social contract is that the hanging victim is adorned with £20 notes. Given the focus on finances throughout the early part of the film, the symbolic destruction of money heralds the film moving Jay into a space far beyond everyday life. The reason he has taken the job is for money, which ceases to exist, at least in his reality at this point of the film.
During the pursuit through tunnels, it becomes apparent that the cult is not chasing Jay and are only targeting Gal. The tense sequence culminates in Gal being wounded. Through the men’s headlamps, we see enough of the damage to know he cannot survive. In yet another of the film’s echoed moments, Gal extends a thank you to Jay before he is shot, as THE PRIEST and THE LIBRARIAN did before they were killed. This again speaks to the foregone conclusion or fate at work within Kill List. Despite how the film conveys their relationship as fractious there is also clearly a deep love and bond between them. Even their earlier fights do not escalate to actual harm. Even when a mug is smashed in their second fight, there is a clear shout from Jay about not hitting in the face as they hit the floor. Their tension is always unresolved and even though Gal is open about his feelings towards Jay, they are always present with honest hostility, for example, ‘You’re a fucking madman but you’re my best mate and I love you.’ This is largely due to Gal managing to possess some of the elements of Arthurian chivalry: an ideal that Jay is fascinated by but cannot match. Gal’s sense of religion, reverence to Shel and his ability to fight without being led by rage all mark him as closer to an Arthurian figure than Jay. The loss of Gal is a loss of friendship, but also a loss of that modern myth (however far Gal may be from the perfect example of that, he is the closest thing Jay has). The concept of brothers in arms is the one thing that brings Jay the closest to fulfilling the idea of chivalry, and that too is lost with Gal.
The final target in Jay’s journey is THE HUNCHBACK. Crucially, the introduction to THE HUNCHBACK appears as on-screen text in the same way as the other targets on the list, indicating that this was always the plan. This is the scene where Jay has now lost everything, aside from his family and so having the mask placed on him further draws him into the cult. Jay quickly overcomes the clumsily moving figure and stabs repeatedly. Only when the figure is subdued does he take a step back and start to take in what is happening. The reveal that Shel and Sam are under the sheet is punctuated by a moment where the camera freezes on Jay’s reaction, dulling the sound for a moment before introducing applause from the cult and continuing chimes on the soundtrack. One of the continuing questions from responses to Kill List is why Shel is laughing as she dies, considering the tragedy of the situation. For me, this is the punctuation mark on Kill List as an incredibly dark farce. I do not hold the belief that Shel is involved with the cult, but that she knows that her life with a man like Jay can only end one way. Her laughter is a response to the inevitability of their situation. Jay and Shel, like Jay and Gal have constantly unresolved tension, frequently lashing out at one another. Early in the film, Gal takes Sam upstairs during one of their arguments and the ease with which he does this demonstrates how often he intervenes in this way. He also makes moves to have them reconcile later in the party, but any truce between them is always short-lived. They belittle one another and Shel slaps him. Yet, despite the tenderness of their last interaction before the finale, there remains the sense that their disagreements are constantly escalating. Kill List frames Jay’s family annihilation in terms of a dark ritual, the last step in dismantling Jay’s social contracts. That Fiona is present for his crowning furthers the idea that Jay is the underperformer she has targeted. The cast commentary, featuring Maskell, Smiley and Buring adds further texture, especially with Buring’s unscripted moments where she speaks Swedish. As part of the commentary, she reveals that Shel’s conversation with her mother centres on Shel possibly going home to Sweden, but that the place she is from is at risk of falling into the ground. This conversation, despite not being scripted and therefore not subtitled, does add further context to Shel’s laughter at the end. Doomed by returning to a place likely to collapse or dying at the hands of her husband – there is no way for her to win.
Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s audio commentary is likely to be a frustrating listen for anyone looking for answers, focusing on the surface of creating the scares as well as the beats of turning from drama to horror, to crime and back again. Perhaps the most revealing element of the commentary is their regret at the film containing too many mentions of Kiev – a previous incident referred to numerous times that seems to link with Jay going ‘off list’. Kiev becomes something unspoken for the audience to put their ideas onto (much like we’re invited to do with the lockup video) and it is not a bad strategy as at times, there is nothing scarier than your imagination. Many things in Kill List as described in the commentary are there only for effect, for example, the naked cult members giving chase is straight out of a dream and meant to evoke visceral fear rather than have any outward meaning or connection. Of course, it is also possible that the pair keep their explanations vague deliberately to not confirm or deny any set meanings. What is clear is that the actors have been allowed to flesh out their characters in greater detail, with the pair crediting Maskell for the way that Jay never smokes in front of Shel – a further secret he wishes to keep from her. Maskell’s insight that he played some scenes as if they were dreams also makes a lot of sense in the way the film is presented, especially as the infection and chaos take hold, rendering the editing more frantic and unnerving toward the climactic scenes.
Jay’s hand is slashed in the initial agreement and his growing interest in the wound and the progression of the infection it causes heralds his descent. Reading this as literal toxic masculinity is on the nose, but deliberately so. Jay is an open wound of a man at the outset of the film, so there is a sense that this mark just makes that underlying issue visible. Every interaction he has with the wound is meaningful in terms of how it impacts him. Firstly, it is how he is marked by the cult and therefore chosen. The pain in his hand causes him to wince while watching Shel speaks to the jacuzzi repairman as it concerns the item that has led him into his latest situation. As the infection spreads, Jay experiences a strange vision of Fiona outside his hotel room window and when he returns home, he shows Shel the extent of the wound and how it has led to a rash across his body. Fiona is often framed in witchy terms, with Gal admitting that he cannot get her out of his head after his breakup, so her appearance outside the room deliberately furthers that sense of her as something approaching supernatural. How far you choose to believe that depends on what you consider the cult to be involved in, of course. Instead of the doctor he sees treating his very clearly infected hand, he is given cryptic advice, ‘The past is gone. The future is not yet here. There is only ever this moment.’ Jay is recklessly impulsive and consistently lives within the moment, yet has a longing for the past, even the kind of past that does not exist.
Following Gal’s death, the film breaks down further, the editing ever more erratic. A quick cut from darkness to a shock of bright light and a chord from Jim Williams’ excellent music strikes as Jay walks back to the car alone. Our attention is brought back to his hand again as he picks the wound open in an act of self-harm that illustrates his despair at the loss of his friend. By the time he reaches the cottage to reunite with Shel and Sam, the camera lurches from characters to the surroundings, hardly able to remain still. The hand is cut once more before the end of the film: just before he fights THE HUNCHBACK. Each reference to the wound comes at a further point of descent, with the infection, along with the pills and booze that Jay starts using to handle both the pain and his other trauma. As a visual sign of Jay’s inner turmoil, it also signals his turn to substances that further muddy his already damaged psyche.
Part modern folk tale with dark carnival influences and part exploration of the damaged male psyche, Kill List is an enduring and bold piece of filmmaking. That the themes the film explores are still such prominent concerns is perhaps a damning indictment of modern Britain, however much this adds to the film’s longevity. That Wheatley returned more explicitly to the idea of folk horror and troubled men in the excellent, experimental A Field in England (2013), indicates an affinity with the desire to return to older, otherworldly ways of dealing with contemporary concerns, enduring and processing trauma. While I have yet to see his most recent return to folk horror, In The Earth (2021), the fact that the film was conceived and produced under quarantine conditions suggests there could be similar themes unpicked within it. What gets under the skin about Kill List is the sheer force of it, taking the viewer on a journey that plays with mundane reality while also slipping outside of those realms. With over 5000 words written here and all the thoughts I have had about the film over the last 10 years, I still don’t think I can sum up the feelings it evokes any better than the man who at the end of the cinema screening I went to who as the credits rolled and a stunned into silence audience tried to process, let out a very loud, ‘Fucking hell!’
Medievalisms: Making the Past in the Present. Tison Pugh and Angela Jane Weisl (2013) Routledge: London.
King Arthur’s and Robin Hood’s Adventures in Medievalism. Mythic Masculinities (and Magical Femininities)
Rabelais and His World. Mikhail Bakhtin (1984) Indiana University Press: Bloomington