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15. Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

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Published on Nov 21, 2008

The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291)

Professor Hungerford situates Marilynne Robinson's novel Housekeeping (1980) in a tradition of American writing about the individual's relationship to nature that includes the powerful influences of the Bible, Herman Melville, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The loss of identity that Emerson describes as becoming a "transparent eyeball" in the woods, Robinson brings into the realm of the home, the built environment. The individual voice and its guiding consciousness are all mixed up in the material substance of the world, giving them a concurrent fixity and fragility that it is Robinson's talent, and our challenge, to explore.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Names and Introductions: My Name is Ruth
10:09 - Chapter 2. Crafting Social Worlds: The Communal and the Singular
20:14 - Chapter 3. Permeable Identity: Anonymity and Ghostliness
31:03 - Chapter 4. The "Soul All Unaccompanied": Matching Language to Consciousness

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2008.

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