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Home on the Horizon

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

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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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Bardem, Javier 135 basement 27, 56, 57, 60, 61, 165, 173 ‘And Down in the Basement’ 166–71 bathroom(s) 19–20, 42, 68, 89–90 ‘Hotels, Motels and Bathrooms’ 91–124 Baum, Frank, Wizard of Oz 8, 68, 120–1, 165, 172 Beaver knows Best 85 Beckham, Sue Bridwell, ‘The American Front Porch: Women’s Liminal Space’ 75 bedroom(s) 26, 45, 53, 58, 90, 91, 92, 95, 102, 110, 114, 116, 118, 165, 166 Belasco, Warren James, Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910–1945 111 Belber, Stephen, Tape 113 Bierstadt, Albert 140 Billy the Kid 123 Bingham, Millicent Todd, Ancestor’s Brocades: The Literary Debut of Emily Dickinson 38–9 Boetticher, Budd, Seven Men from Now 133 Boone, Daniel 20 border(s) 2, 5, 8, 9, 19, 36, 37, 38, 44, 46, 56, 62, 63, 87, 123, 125, 127, 134, 135, 137, 138, 161, 162, 168 ‘Border Crossings’ 58–60 border-tensions 87 Ackroyd, Peter 21 Alberti, Leon Battista 62–3 Alcotts 39 Alexander, John White, ‘Repose’ 26 American Agriculturalist, The 8 American Historical Association 126 American Woman’s Home or Principles of Domestic Science, The 27 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism 147 Anderson Corporation 52 apartment 66, 132, 133, 134–6, 141, 142, 143, 147, 196 apartment-hotel 136; see also hotel- apartment Auden, W. H.: ‘Thanksgiving for a Habitat’ 91 ‘Encomium Balnei’ 91 Auster, Paul: City of Glass 7–8 Moon Palace 143–6 automobile 8, 85, 86, 89, 142, 160;...

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