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A leading figure in the debate over the literary canon, Jane Tompkins was one of the first to point to the ongoing relevance of popular women's fiction in the 19th century, long overlooked or scorned by literary critics.Now, in West of Everything, Tompkins shows how popular novels and films of the American west have shaped the emotional lives of people in our time.She brings spirit, energy, freshness and originality to a field of study that has long been buried many feet deep in cliches.
Do you think there is any validity to her criticisms? What assumptions about gender preferences and rhetorical styles lie behind Tompkins’ dissatisfactions?
What “emotions”does she describe in the second part of the essay? What account does she give of recent trends in literary criticism? (2140) Are there features of this essay’s presentation which seem more convincing or widely applicable than others?
Does Tompkins maintain her original disagreement throughout the essay?
What claims does Tompkins make about the features of academic discourse? Why does she choose Guattari, Bloom and Foucault as her exemplary texts?
“Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.
” Roethke illustrates the affiliation between the speaker and his student with this line.
The speaker often compares her to birds and plants, giving her in image of innocence, of perfection.
“A wren, happy, tail into the wind, Her song trembling the twigs and small branches…Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her.
The feminist perspective of West of Everything makes it invaluable to the ongoing critical discourse on Westerns.
- The San Francisco Chronicle Jane Tompkins knows her Western through and through; she handles details, events and scenes from novels and movies with skill and surety....