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Secret Journeys
The Trope of Women's Travel in American Literature
Secret Journeys
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Marilyn C. Wesley - Author
SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Price: $51.50 
Hardcover - 167 pages
Release Date: October 1998
ISBN10: 0-7914-3995-X
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3995-1

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Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 167 pages
Release Date: October 1998
ISBN10: 0-7914-3996-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3996-8

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Examines the subversive and constructive narrative of female journey in American literature, from the seventeenth century to the present.

Travel is the root metaphor for Western progress, a fact particularly evident in a colonizing and immigrant nation like the United States. Despite changing historical circumstances from one American epoch to another, men have generally been associated with adventurous movement and women with domestic stasis, a bias that has obscured recognition of a significant trope: the woman traveler throughout American literature.

Secret Journeys examines the subversive and constructive narrative of female journey from the seventeenth century to the present in such works as John Greenleaf Whittier's Snowbound, Mary Rowlandson's A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mary Rowlandson, Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, Edith Wharton's Summer, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, Eudora Welty's short fiction, and Elizabeth Bishop's poetry. In recognizing the figure of the woman traveler, Wesley produces new readings of canonical texts that subvert social and political assumptions in texts by men and construct alternative arrangements in texts by women.

"This book is unquestionably a significant contribution to the field of American literature. Extremely well written, it utilizes an impressively broad range of scholarship and contemporary theory, and is thoughtfully persuasive. Because the past few years have seen a decided revival of interest in travel writing, particularly by women, Wesley's study of the trope of travel appears at just the right time: we need an original, in-depth, scholarly, and lucidly presented reexamination of major works vis-a-vis this metaphor, and Marilyn Wesley has written it. All American literature scholars would benefit from Wesley's original views." -- Abby H. P. Werlock, St. Olaf College

"Wesley's claims and her close readings are engaging. Her criticism often persuaded me to re-read the texts she discussed. As an American literature teacher and scholar, I found the book quite useful." -- Gregory Eiselein, Kansas State University

Marilyn C. Wesley is Assistant Professor of English at Hartwick College. She is also the author of Refusal and Transgression in Joyce Carol Oates' Fiction.


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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction The Secret Journey: The Trope of Women's Travel in American Literature

Part I The Contravention of Values

Chapter 1 The Not Unfeared, Half-Welcome Guest: The Woman Traveler in John Greenleaf Whittier's Snow-Bound

Part II Alternative Journeys

Chapter 2 Moving Targets: The Travel Text in A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Chapter 3 "The Perilous Journey through the Human House": The Gothic Journey in Willa Cather's The Professor's House and Edith Wharton's Summer

Chapter 4 A Woman's Place: The Politics of Space in Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Part III Travel as Social Reconstruction

Chapter 5 The Genteel Picara: The Ethical Imperative in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs

Chapter 6 Sisters of the Road: Transience as Theme and Form in Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping

Part IV Transformative Journeys

Chapter 7 The Developmental Journey: Narrative, Psychological, and Social Transformation in Eudora Welty's Short Fiction

Chapter 8 The Postmodern Journey: Elizabeth Bishop's Trope of Travel

Conclusion Orpah's Journey: Reading the Constructive Narrative

Notes

Works Cited

Index



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