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Showing papers in "American Literature in 1984"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Kolodny examines the evidence of three generations of women's writing about the frontier and finds that, although the American frontiersman imagined the wilderness as virgin land, an unspoiled Eve to be taken, the pioneer woman at his side dreamed more modestly of a garden to be cultivated as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: To discover how women constructed their own mythology of the West, Kolodny examines the evidence of three generations of women's writing about the frontier. She finds that, although the American frontiersman imagined the wilderness as virgin land, an unspoiled Eve to be taken, the pioneer woman at his side dreamed more modestly of a garden to be cultivated. Both intellectual and cultural history, this volume continues Kolodny's study of frontier mythology begun in The Lay of the Land .

175 citations





Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In fact, in I864 five poems appeared in New York City and Brooklyn as mentioned in this paper and two of the poems were reprinted in Springfield and one in Boston, and five poems made a total of ten separate appearances in four cities.
Abstract: UNTIL recently, we believed that only seven of Emily Dickinson's almost eighteen hundred poems were published in her lifetime. The seven poems appeared over a span of twenty-seven years, five of them in Springfield, the city nearest her home.1 In fact, in I864 five poems appeared in New York City and Brooklyn. The publication in New York, long known, now has a new significance in light of four other poems published in Brooklyn. Two of the poems were reprinted in Springfield and one in Boston. Within two months, five poems made a total of ten separate appearances in four cities. An examination of the four newly discovered texts and the circumstances of their publication obliges us to reconsider two vexing issues concerning Dickinson: her supposed indifference to the catastrophic events of the Civil War, and her attitude toward publication itself. The lack of explicit reference to the war in her poems and letters has made it appear that she remained nearly oblivious to it. And it has been generally assumed that she gave up hope of being published because her poems, too advanced for the time, were rejected by editors. Both assumptions are disproved by the I864 publications. Three of the poems published in Brooklyn must be seen as her contribution to the Union cause. Moreover, the publications and reprints in I864 make clear that editors were interested in her poems and that more poems would have been published had she offered them. Even before the discovery of these new publications, the year I864 has been seen as exceptional in the history of Dickinson's publications. It was the only year in which more than one poem appeared.

19 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In each of her novels, The Bluest Eye (I970), Sula (I973), Song of Solomon (I 97 7), and Tar Baby (i 98 I), Toni Morrison juxtaposes two categories of people's dreams and aspirations, visions of how life should be lived as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: N each of her novels, The Bluest Eye (I970), Sula (I973), Song of Solomon (I 97 7), and Tar Baby (i 98 I), Toni Morrison juxtaposes two categories of people's dreams and aspirations, visions of how life should be lived. The first dreamtypes are idyllic, for their proponents' chief aims are to live in concord with people and nature while remaining true to their own heritage. In contrast, dreams in the second category advocate not brotherhood but the competitive acquisition of power or money. Based on values of an American society which cherishes outward "success," these secondcategory dreams teach that happiness lies in attaining power, that personal worth comes from being "number one." Throughout all four books, Morrison affirms the superiority of idyllic values over competitive-success ones; she clearly details the negative consequences of valuing power or wealth more than other people. Yet she also acknowledges the difficulty of being altruistic in twentieth-century America, the milieu which influences most of her characters. Morrison's first three novels take place in small, black American communities, and, while Tar Baby's setting is international, its main characters also grow up in the United States. As American youngsters in these novels mature, many simply have no role model from whom to learn the selfless dream of living in harmony with others. And, unfortunately, even those who do see idyllic values being lived are strongly attracted to glittery possibilities which "success" offers. Some of Morrison's characters do embrace idyllic values. More often, though, they opt to pursue competitive success, a choice which dooms them to lesser lives than they might otherwise have had. Showing differences between these two modes of living is one of the author's major themes. In several interviews, Morrison comments on her use of metaphors. For example, in a New Republic piece she discloses, "There

15 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For instance, the authors pointed out that modern fabulators have tended to produce works in which it is essential that we perceive the errors of their basically sympathetic protagonists, and if we fail to note these errors, or if we interpret them inappropriately, we are in danger of misconstruing the author's meaning but of actually reversing it.
Abstract: OTHING has become more unfashionable in the last ten years than explication du texte. No doubt in reaction against the New Critics, we have tended to stress "broader" considerations, whether historical, psychological, or philosophical. Sometimes, however, questions of textual interpretation must be faced if we are to avoid the most basic misunderstandings about the works we read and teach. A case in point is John Gardner's Grendel (I97I). Gardner is one of our more respected contemporary writers, and Grendel is his most popular work, yet I think this book is usually read in such a way as literally to reverse Gardner's intended meaning. Insofar as Grendel deserves its emerging status, the interpretive problem is unfavorable. As it happens, however, our problems in reading Grendel are very similar to our difficulties in reading such recent fabulations as John Barth's The Floating Opera (I956), Joseph Heller's Catch-2 2 (I96I), Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (I969), and many other well-known books in this mode. For reasons I will discuss later, modern fabulators have tended to produce works in which it is essential that we perceive the errors of their basically sympathetic protagonists. If we fail to note these errors, or if we interpret them inappropriately, we are in danger not only of misconstruing the author's meaning but of actually reversing it. As this problem is most acute in Grendel, I think that discussion of this text should provide a natural transition to the more general problem of interpreting modern fables.

11 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A reading of the novel is possible which mediates the extremes of Edna as either tragic or pathetic as discussed by the authors, which is a useful pattern to illuminate the labor toward self of the female hero with the accompanying inner and outer threats to the attainment of selfhood.
Abstract: ESPITE the intense critical attention Kate Chopin's The AwakJLJ} ening has received in the last fifteen years, it is still not clear whether Edna Pontellier is a hero or a victim. One recent reader sees her suicide as a "defiant act of will" and another as a result of "maternal longing."' A reading of the novel is possible which mediates the extremes of Edna as either tragic or pathetic. The Eros and Psyche myth is a useful pattern to illuminate the labor toward self of the female hero with the accompanying inner and outer threats to the attainment of selfhood. Several commentators have noted the irony of the title. Edna sleeps and lives in a world of romantic fantasy far more than she seems to awaken to self or reality. The magnetic Gulf of Mexico beckons her to a world of dreams and then destruction. Freudian and other psychological critics have helpfully detailed the infantile and regressive traits in Edna,2 but this line of interpretation tends to view Edna's struggle as narrowly pathological rather than universally human. If, however, we view Edna as a Psyche figure, it is more clear that heroism is necessary for the nascent self to resist the lure and power of the unconscious.

8 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Le point de vue de l'observateur jamesien: de lassociationnisme a la psychologie fonctionnaliste as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Le point de vue de l'observateur jamesien: de l'associationnisme a la psychologie fonctionnaliste.

7 citations




Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Hemingway's art of fiction, evolved in his early years in Paris, was influenced by the French post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne as discussed by the authors, who made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them.
Abstract: EMINGWAY'S art of fiction, evolved in his early years in Paris, was influenced by the French post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. In A Moveable Feast Hemingway spoke mysteriously about "learning something from the painting of Cezanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them. I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret."2 And he told Lillian Ross, "I learned how to make a landscape from Mr. Paul Cezanne by walking through the Luxembourg Museum a thousand times with an empty gut."3 During Hemingway's lean and hungry days in Paris, only three Cezanne paintings were on display at the Luxembourg: "L'Estaque," "Farmyard at Auvers-sur-Oise," and "The Poplars."4

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Agrarians, successors to the Fugitives, are the subject of a special issue in Mississippi Quarterly, "I'll Take My Stand: Fifty Years Later," ed. Thomas D. Young as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: ing tendencies of a scientific age, is one quality Glasgow obviously holds in common with the Agrarians.2 Moreover, the kinds of details she provides, whether in the description of setting in Barren Ground or in the analysis of social relationships and psychological complexity in The Sheltered LiJe or Vein of Iron, tie her to the Southern Renascence traditions discussed by Allen W. Becker and C. Hugh Holman.3 Besides an anti-industrial bias, Becker finds an awareness of the "presentness" of the past which places Glasgow's novels solidly in the Southern literary mainstream. And certainly ample evidence in Glasgow's critical writing suggests the importance for her of tradition and the Southern myth. In a I928 essay in Harper's she commented: "The race that inherited a heroic legend must have accumulated an inexhaustible resource of joy, beauty, love, laughter and tragic passion. To discard this rich heritage in the pursuit of a standard utilitarian style is, for the Southern novelist, pure folly."4 Glasgow's satire was directed not at social conventions which preserve tradition but at empty rituals which no longer reflected tradition. Although Glasgow's characters may reject or revise certain tenets of a prevailing code of manners or morals, they are never free to reject all codes.5 Indeed, a number of characters take responsibility for preserving order in place of fallen civilization. The need to 2 Louise Cowan offers an excellent study of this Southern literary outcropping in The Fugitive Group (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, I959), chaps. I-3. The Agrarians, successors to the Fugitives, are the subject of a special issue in Mississippi Quarterly, "I'll Take My Stand: Fifty Years Later," ed. Thomas D. Young, vol. 33

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In one of the saner commentaries concerning My Antonia, Terence Martin notes the twenty-year gap between Books IV and V. He does not elucidate the hiatus, but he does inadvertently suggest its importance when he states that Jim's absence from Nebraska and the intervening life "afford little but material for conjecture and inference".
Abstract: IN one of the saner commentaries concerning My Antonia, Terence Martin notes the twenty-year gap between Books IV and V. He does not elucidate the hiatus, but he does inadvertently suggest its importance when he states that Jim's absence from Nebraska and the intervening life "afford little but material for conjecture and inference."' The narrative blank space is more important than Martin makes it appear, but indeed we do conjecture and infer when faced with the missing decades. Primarily, we ponder the superficially simple but ultimately complex question of what exactly is the process Jim undergoes, and consequently, what does the entire novel "mean?" We watch Antonia change substantially-see her experience times of searching calm, bitchy hoydenism, sexual debauchery, physical and psychic pain, and maternal tranquility. These changes are graphic in the narrative design: Antonia's screaming attack on Jim in chapter XVIII, Book I; her dehumanizing labors in chapter III, Book IV; and her serene beauty throughout Book V. In contrast, we notice very little commensurate growth or change for Jim. Viewed against Antonia's near epic struggles, he appears strangely flat, peculiarly immutable. Since his place in the narrative is at least equal to hers and since Cather does not typically offer contrastive characters without giving each adequate stature (as with the bishops Latour and Vaillant), Jim's apparent lack of development does perplex. Evelyn Helmick tries to solve the riddle by tracing Jim's personality back to "primordial matriarchial mysteries."2 She explains My Antonia generally and the pivotal Cuzak section particularly in terms of these ancient Greek rites and locates Jim's gradual

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the percys arrive and the great war is described, followed by reconstruction and the last f l o r o o n O O O D ǫ.
Abstract: .............................................................. iii CHAPTERS I. THE PERCYS ARRIVE.......................................... 1 II. LEROY PERCY................................................... 18 III. THE SENATE................................................... 55 IV. WILL P E R C Y ................................................... 88 V. THE GREAT WAR................................................107 VI. THE K L A N .................................................... 138 VII. RECONSTRUCTION..............................................166 VIII. THE LAST F L O O D ..............................................192 IX. UNCLE WILL'S GARDEN......................................... 224 X. PLANTERS, GARDENERS AND S U C H ............................... 264 BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................... 315 VITA................................................................... 323



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Hemingway's lifelong admiration for Kipling, whom he continued to praise long after it became fashionable to disparage the older writer, suggests an important English influence on his technique, tone, themes and code of honor.
Abstract: A MERICAN scholars have a tendency to place Hemingway exclusively in his native literary tradition, to see him as a follower of Twain, James, Crane, Lardner, Anderson, Stein or Pound.1 Hemingway also has been repeatedly characterized as a spokesman for the Lost Generation, "as a rebel against those standards of conduct which generations before World War I appeared to accept as adequate and perfectly satisfactory."2 But Hemingway's lifelong admiration for Kipling, whom he continued to praise long after it became fashionable to disparage the older writer, suggests an important English influence on his technique, tone, themes and code of honor.3 Hemingway's close friend Bill Smith, whom he first met as a boy in Michigan, recalled: "We tended to buy the English gents' code of gallantry as revealed in fiction. . . . It was the kind of thing we read in those days."4 Kipling's works connect Hemingway, who was proud of his English heritage, to the traditional moral and military values of the Victorian age. On Armistice Day in Milan, 3 November I9I8, Hemingway,




Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In an interview given some years ago, James Dickey compared the qualities of stamina and adaptability needed of the American poet in the modern world with those embodied in the major character of his novel Deliverance, asserting that in Ed Gentry we find the resilience and fertility of the true artisan -a willingness to explore the viability of his trade in the face of a hostile environment.
Abstract: IN an interview given some years ago, James Dickey compared the qualities of stamina and adaptability needed of the American poet in the modern world with those embodied in the major character of his novel Deliverance, asserting that in Ed Gentry we find the resilience and fertility of the true artisan -a willingness to explore the viability of his trade in the face of a hostile environment. He declared, the poet in America "can be like Ed Gentry in Deliverance-resourceful. He should live by his trade, should see that he can live by his trade."' The quietist New Critical tradition has always been foreign to Dickey, and therefore we ought not to be surprised by his aggressive attitude to literature in the marketplace. What does surprise is his suggestion that the narrator of Deliverance utilizes the principles of his "trade" (specifically I take these to be associated with graphic art and draughtsmanship, though supplemented by the small-business skills of management and employee relations) in order to "live"-an accomplishment which, in the world of Deliverance, is no easy advance. The perils of white-water canoeing, rock-climbing, and archery as a deadly sport are only some of the physical matters which Gentry has to confront and master in his progress towards survival; and when we consider that this bodily dexterity has its mental parallel in his efforts to organize his injured or inept comrades while at the same time attaining an intimacy with the mind of a barbarian, then this surprise approaches disbelief. Certainly Dickey's assertion runs contrary to the critical consensus which assumes that we have in the same novel a subversion of civilized values, values which are largely eclipsed by the primitive strain in human nature. It is Lewis Medlock who somewhat gleefully informs Gentry that his city trade will soon cease to have

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Omoo holds a peculiar place as the one novel completely simple and profane: not harboring "the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God,"3 but nevertheless a welcome relief for the scholar toiling over Melville's usual inordinate complexity and intellectuality.
Abstract: iTfHOUGH I wrote the Gospels in this century, I should die in the gutter," Melville told Hawthorne in i 85 I, when he was well on his way toward literary obscurity.1 Although Melville's reputation today exposes what may be a wry self-mockery in this statement, his second "Gospel," Omoo, often remains slighted. Critical appraisals of the book have typically included condemnation of it as an incoherent and defective narrative and condescending recognition of it as a straightforward and sunny autobiography. Even Edwin M. Eigner and William B. Dillingham, who present detailed analyses of the novel, call attention to its "digressive" narrative, its "light" tone, and its lack of compelling ideas.2 It is as if, in the canon of works sacred to Melville scholars, Omoo holds a peculiar place as the one novel completely simple and profane: not harboring "the highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God,"3 but nevertheless (or therefore) a welcome relief for the scholar toiling over Melville's usual inordinate complexity and intellectuality. Read thus in comparison to other Melville texts or according to conventional novelistic criteria, Omoo does seem to deserve its reputation as a particularly humorous but inconsequential work. I




Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For instance, this article pointed out that Thoreau was ambivalent about hunting and hunters in America, and that hunting was an earthly endeavor fraught with spiritual potential, an activity which both stimulated and disturbed his moral notions about environmental confrontation between man and animal.
Abstract: DECOUNTING his participation in an i 853 moose hunt in Maine, IL~ Henry David Thoreau wrote, "I went as reporter or chaplain to the hunters,-and the chaplain has been known to carry a gun himself.' To persons convinced that Thoreau was a vegetarian or at least an anti-hunter, that statement comes as a shock. Since his death in i 862, the popular and, to some extent, the scholarly estimate of Thoreau has described his penchant for wildness as bloodless, innocent, devoid of death-dealing acts. A distortion of his environmental thought has ensued, a misreading most unfortunate, because his work has been central to much later environmental theory and perception.2 In conscripting Thoreau for the fight against hunting, anti-hunters have paid attention to only half of his pronouncements on the matter. Actually he hunted occasionally, and he alternately praised hunting and preached against it. Throughout his intense preoccupation with nature and wildness, Thoreau was ambivalent about hunting and hunters in America. His published works and private journals reflect much intellectual anguish over the question of killing animals and much elation about that killing as an affirmation of man's connections to nature. A close look at his writings, particularly the journals, reveals that hunting, for Thoreau, was an earthly endeavor fraught with spiritual potential, an activity which both stimulated and disturbed his moral notions about environmental confrontation between man and animal.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Real Grammar de Walt Whitman prend parti contre les grammaires normatives pour une grammaire de la langue vivante as mentioned in this paper, e.g.
Abstract: La Real Grammar de Walt Whitman prend parti contre les grammaires normatives pour une grammaire de la langue vivante. Elle contribue egalement a l'elaboration de la langue poetique de Song of Myself ou le poete fait montre de sa "vision" de la langue et du souci de l'adequation du style au sujet traite, tout en maintenant, de facon continue, l'application et la mise en relation des verbes tels quels et des substantifs verbaux.