At Wanderer's Well Literary Essays

I have been threatening for some time to add to the hubris of publishing my own fiction and poetry a further insult to the written word, by putting my unpublished literary scholarship online. Well, it begins. I have a handful of essays written for literary events and never published, and most of them are certainly worthy of publication. I quit trying to publish "scholarship" when I left academe, about fifteen years ago.

To what end would I subject myself to the tiresome exercise of finding a journal willing to print the essay? I don't need tenure, and I don't delude myself that my critical work will change the world in some significant way. In the last days of my urge to publish, I accepted "commissions" (an essay on Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain for Denver Quarterly, another on American Indian autobiography for the supplement to TCU's Literary History of the American West, an essay on Vardis Fisher's Indians for a University of Idaho essay collection on Fisher).

Meantime, the ludicrous cant of political correctness copulated with the fascist gibberish of deconstruction to create a literary climate in scholarly publishing slightly less amusing than a bad imitation of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and I moved on to more respectable undertakings. Occasionally I read what now passes for literary criticism, and I find no reason for regret.

So I make no claims for the essays, except that I know what I'm talking about. They are not conformant to the latest dicta of the MLA Style Sheet. They do not follow anal-obsessive citational formulae. They do not confine themselves to goodthinkful diction and opinions. They say nothing of any value about "textuality," "signifiers," or "representations." They are Luddite junk. But if you are interested in the topics –Robinson Jeffers, Frederick Manfred, Vardis Fisher, Ursula Le Guin, Scott Momaday, others– you will find them entertaining, provocative, and stimulating. If not? Oh well.

 The Contagion of Consciousness:
Robinson Jeffers' Moral Universe

 Green Thoughts Asleep and the Fury of Dreams:
Native Shading in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin

 The Sundered Egg:
The Sexual Issue Frederick Manfred's The Manly-Hearted Woman

 Survival of the Blood:
Vardis Fisher's The Mothers

 Vardis Fisher's Mormon Heritage Re-Examined

 Vardis Fisher's Objuective Epic: Children of God


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