Critical Essays on the Works of American Author Dorothy Allison

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This is a collection of essays examining the works of Dorothy Allison (1950- ), one of the most original and influential contemporary American women writers working today. Allison is perhaps best-known as author of the acclaimed best- selling novels Bastard Out of Carolina, a National Book Award Finalist in 1992, and Cavedweller (1998). Her numerous other works have included short story and essay collections, poetry, and an autobiography. The critical essays in this collection consider Allison's short stories and essays, as well as her novels, discussing themes such as trauma and violence, the body, literary and critical connections, and class, among others. As the first major collection of essays to focus solely on Allison's works, this study provides groundbreaking work on an important and interesting contemporary writer. Allison's works attract readers from a range of academic disciplines, and they have found a broad national public readership as well. Thus the audience for this work, like Allison's audience, is unusually diverse, comprising readers interested in a range of gender issues, autobiographical writing, trauma narratives, Southern writing, and lesbian and gay writing and issues.


"In this long-awaited collection dedicated solely to Dorothy Allison's works, the writers and editors come from an array of perspectives to provide literary scholars with fresh, interesting, and comprehensive scholarship ... Examining familiar issues in new ways, the collection adds to current discussions of white trash, trauma narrative, and poverty, yet takes Allison's work to new ground through discussions of psychoanalysis, masculinity, and literary miscegenation. While this is the first edited collection dedicated entirely to Allison, it will certainly not be the last as the editors and authors have generated provocative questions for further discussion about this important writer's project." - Professor Katrina M. Powell, Louisiana State University

Table of Contents

Part I. Trauma, Transformations and Transgressions
• 'A Child Is Being Beaten': Dorothy Allison's Testimony of Trauma and Abuse in Bastard Out of Carolina (Suzette A. Henke, University of Louisville)
• The Transformational Power of Shame: Masturbation, Religion, and White Trash Myths in Bastard Out of Carolina (Tania Friedel, New York University)
• Vengeance is Fleeting: Masculine Transgressions in the Works of Dorothy Allison (Laurie Vickroy, Bradley University)
Part II. Literary and Critical Connections
• Meeting at a Barbecue: Dorothy Allison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Apocalyptic Literary Miscegenation (Julia C. Ehrhardt, University of Oklahoma)
• Embracing Pariahdom: The Bastard Theme in Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina (Carolyn Kraus, University of Michigan-Dearborn)
Part III. Violence and the Body
• 'Shotgun Strategies': Working Class Literature and Violence (Renny Christopher, California State University, Channel Islands)
• The Burden of Surviving: The Ambiguous Body in Dorothy Allison's Fiction (Sherryl Vint, St. Francis Xavier University)
Dorothy Allison: A Critical Bibliography

Other Literature - American Books