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Home on the Horizon

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


Sally Bayley

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.


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Acknowledgements xi


Acknowledgements Many many thanks to: Sue Neale, my picture editor, for her persistent patience, consum- mate professionalism and kindness during what was a very long drawn out and complicated project. This book would not have been possible without her. Callie Gladman and Geoff Rosen of The Bob Dylan Music Company for their generosity in granting permission to reproduce three Bob Dylan paintings and a section of Dylan’s The Chronicles. Kiowa Hammons, Rights and Reproductions Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art, for her assistance with Edward Hopper’s South Carolina Morning and to Barbara Goldstein Wood of the National Gallery of Art for help with the reproduction of Hopper’s Cape Cod Evening. Thanks must also go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art and Emily Jones of Scala, London, for her help with facilitat- ing permission to reproduce Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, an image at the heart of this book. Darren Thomas, Picture Researcher at The Picture Desk for his effi- ciency with sending over the film stills and to Amy Stein for granting permission to use her extraordinary photograph, Watering Hole. Chris Bessant for his impressively efficient copyediting of the manu- script and to Lucy Kellett for her precise and careful handling of the index. Thank you to Nick Reynolds and Peggy Struck of Peter Lang. The biggest thanks go to those who read and encouraged early ver- sions of this project; in particular, Alexis...

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