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Feeling Better Than Most People Think: Nature And The Body In Wallace Stegner's All The Little Live Things And The Spectator Bird

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Feeling Better Than Most People Think: Nature And The Body In Wallace Stegner's All The Little Live Things And The Spectator Bird

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Title: Feeling Better Than Most People Think: Nature And The Body In Wallace Stegner's All The Little Live Things And The Spectator Bird
Author: Sowa, Angela Renae
Abstract: Much of the critical scholarship on Wallace Stegner has focused, and continues to focus, on his role in the conservationist movement, on his environmental non-fiction, or on his skill as a teacher of writing. While these elements of his artistry are undeniably important, even vital, as subjects of scholarly study, there is a surprising lack of criticism on his novels. Stegner the man, conservationist, teacher, and historian often seem to overshadow Stegner's writing itself. In an effort to further the scholarly conversation on the literary elements of Stegner's novels, this study examines two of his later works, All the Little Live Things and The Spectator Bird, in order to show how Stegner's depiction of the body, and especially the female body, establishes what it means for an individual to have a definite sense of place. Joe Allston, the novels' narrator, looks to the female body to try to discern how connections between place, history, and future are created. This positions the female body as a dynamic force that rejects classification and so is reinvented outside of the culture/nature dichotomy that is so troubling to contemporary feminist theorists. In a way, Stegner's re-envisioning of nature as a feminist space positions his writing in a proto-feminist context, anticipating and counteracting what Stacy Alaimo has termed "a feminist flight from [the] troublesome sphere" of nature. Drawing on theories and philosophies of Alaimo and Susan Bordo, among others, this study explores what it means for Stegner's characters to be able to claim a place for themselves, thereby complicating the relationship between the body and nature.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10106/1023
Date: 2008-09-17
External Link: https://www.uta.edu/ra/real/editprofile.php?onlyview=1&pid=1205

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