Rocky Mountain E-Review of Language and Literature

Volume 56, Number 2
Fall 2002


Multifaceted Metaphor:
Gogol's Portrayal of St. Petersburg in Dead Souls

Danielle Jones

A close reading of Dead Souls in light of letters and biographical information highlights how Gogol purposefully subverted the glamorous representation of St. Petersburg typical of his day. Through repetition and association, the capital comes to represent what is false, foreign, and deceitful about fashion, culture, the Enlightenment, and the upper class. This portrayal, however, is not overt but rather cloaked in the depiction of the village of N. Although Gogol's methods are subtle, a pairing of the locales entails a critique of the capital both directly by comparison and indirectly by contrast. The multiple nuances and the humor of Dead Souls cannot be fully appreciated without an awareness of Gogol's methods. Further, this angle is essential in understanding Gogol's professed intentions of showing the moral and spiritual deficiencies he saw in sophisticated society. Finally, the culminating effect of Gogol's portrayal of St. Petersburg becomes an extended and complex metaphor.

Building the Chicana Body
in Sandra Cisneros' My Wicked Wicked Ways

Adriana Estill
University of New Mexico

The article analyzes the corporeal subjectivity developed in My Wicked Wicked Ways, from the early poems' focus on the young girl's difficult struggle to negotiate her Chicago barrio's economic, spatial, and physical violence against the bodies and sexuality of women and children to the final poems' portrayal of an adult woman and her body's extensive ontological and epistomological rootedness in global affairs. This is the first article to provide a comprehensive critique of My Wicked Wicked Ways that argues for the existence of a singular poetic voice that both makes the collection coherent and allows for the recognition of the work as the description of one Chicana subject's chronological and spatial journey.

Stirring up the Dust: The Healing History of a Curandera
in La insólita historia de la Santa de Cabora

Elisabeth Guerrero
Bucknell University

Brianda Domecq's La insólita historia de la Santa de Cabora (The Astonishing Story of the Saint of Cabora, 1990) revisits the tale of Teresa Urrea, or Saint Teresa of Cabora (1873-1906), a Sonoran mystic and anti-Porfirian activist whose life ended in exile in the United States. This study posits that just as the character Teresa is a curandera, or healer, the text also serves as what activist historian Aurora Levins Morales has called history as curandera, a healing history. La insólita historia carries out a number of Levins Morales' suggestions for creating remedies through stories, such as telling untold or undertold tales, centering women to change the landscape, identifying and contradicting strategic pieces of misinformation, showing agency rather than passive victimization, and embracing complexity and ambiguity. The novel thus offers a healing contribution to Mexican letters.


Michael Kearns
University of Southern Indiana

Theorists such as Wayne Booth suggest that ethos (of narrating voice or implied author), complexity of narrative structure, and moral response will be fairly closely linked. Readers will tend to prefer the "better company" offered by a writer who pays more attention to craft and will benefit, ethically, from "traveling with" that writer. Theorists of moral development suggest that individuals progress from a more simplistic, dualistic level to a level at which they can value and respond to complex situations; thus a link between narrative complexity and moral complexity seems plausible. However, analyzing a sample of reviews posted by readers on of The Archivist (by Martha Cooley) and The Reader (by Bernard Schlink), one sees that no simple connection exists: readers may tend to value a narrative with a complex perspective but may also tend to react more strongly to morally objectionable situations.


Birthing the Lesbian Teacher Within:
Towards an Understanding of Identity and Self-Actualization

Catherine Fox
Iowa State University

This discussion is an outgrowth of two semesters of teaching; in the first semester I was closeted, in the next semester I came out to my entire class. An interaction with a student marks the onset of many more "contractions" which led to the "birthing" of my lesbian-teacher identity. I use my teaching experiences as a launching point from which to explore the complex issues involved in teacher self-disclosure of lesbian or gay identities and to show how the choice to come out can produce overwhelmingly positive effects on our teaching and pedagogy.


Vision, the Gaze, and the Function of the Senses in Celestina, by James F. Burke 
Reviewer: Kevin Larsen

Shakespeare's Noise, by Kenneth Gross 
Reviewer: Michael Pringle

Preserving the Self in the South Seas, 1680-1840, by Jonathan Lamb 
Reviewer: Greg Grewell

Lord Byron at Harrow School: Speaking Out, Talking Back, Acting Up, Bowing Out, by Paul Elledge 
Reviewer: L. Adam Mekler

She Left Nothing in Particular: The Autobiographical Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Women's Diaries, by Amy L. Wink 
Reviewer: Stephen J. Rippon

Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, by Rüdiger Safranski 
Reviewer: Sean Ireton

Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism: From the Revolution to World War II, by John Carlos Rowe 
Reviewer: Darryl Hattenhauer

The War Poets, Films for the Humanities and Sciences 
Reviewer: Collin Hughes

A Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway, ed. Linda Wagner-Martin 
Reviewer: Mimi R. Gladstein

Native American Representations: First Encounters, Distorted Images, and Literary Appropriations, ed. Gretchen M. Bataille 
Reviewer: Peter L. Bayers

Mavericks on the Border: The Early Southwest in Historical Fiction and Film, by J. Douglas Canfield 
Reviewer: Melissa Hussain

American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place, by Joni Adamson 
Reviewer: Ryan Simmons

American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place, by Joni Adamson 
Reviewer: Michael Lundblad

Ideology, Power, Text: Self-Representation and the Peasant "Other" in Modern Chinese Literature, by Yi-tsi Mei Feuerwerker 
Reviewer: Christopher Lupke

Truth and Consequences: Intentions, Conventions, and the New Thematics, by Reed Way Dasenbrock 
Reviewer: Daniel Smitherman

Practicing New Historicism, by Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt 
Reviewer: Catherine Kunce

Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books, by William Germano 
Reviewer: Joseph S. Eng