Home on the Horizon

America’s Search for Space, from Emily Dickinson to Bob Dylan

by Sally Bayley (Author)
Monographs XII, 226 Pages
Series: Peter Lang Ltd., Volume 21


In this study of space and place, Sally Bayley examines the meaning of ‘home’ in American literature and culture. Moving from the nineteenth-century homestead of Emily Dickinson to the present-day reality of Bob Dylan, Bayley investigates the relationship of the domestic frontier to the wide-open spaces of the American outdoors. In contemporary America, she argues, the experience of home is increasingly isolated, leading to unsettling moments of domestic fallout.
At the centre of the book is the exposed and often shifting domain of the domestic threshold: Emily Dickinson’s doorstep, Edward Hopper’s doors and windows, and Harper Lee’s front porch. Bayley tracks these historically fragile territories through contemporary literature and film, including Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men, Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, and Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford – works that explore local, domestic territories as emblems of nation. The culturally potent sites of the american home – the hearth, porch, backyard, front lawn, bathroom, and basement – are positioned in relation to the more conflicted sites of the American motel and hotel.


XII, 226
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2011 (March)
Oxford, 2010. XII, 226 pp., num. coloured and b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Sally Bayley (Author)

Sally Bayley is a Tutor of English at Balliol College, Oxford. She co-edited Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual (2007), the first book to assess Plath’s artwork in relation to her poetic corpus.


Title: Home on the Horizon