The Fiction of Ellen Gilchrist

Margaret Donovan Bauer

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"Original and highly significant. . . . Exposes the brilliance of Gilchrist's technique while at the same time revealing exquisite connections. . . . The depth and range of Bauer's work certainly offer readers insight into Gilchrist's fiction, but also suggest new ways of approaching American literature."--Carolyn Perry, Westminster College

"Margaret Bauer’s intertextual reading of Ellen Gilchrist’s fiction enriches and informs us on two fronts. She deepens our encounter with the fiction itself, and she greatly extends our knowledge of Gilchrist’s imaginative engagement of Hemingway, Porter, Faulkner, Chopin, and other American literary precursors."--Peggy Prenshaw, Louisiana State University

Margaret Bauer, in the first book to offer a serious analysis of Ellen Gilchrist's literary style, places this enormously popular contemporary southern writer squarely in the American literary canon.
Bauer introduces readers first to what she terms the organic story cycle of Gilchrist's work. She then examines the stories and novels alongside those of four other major American writers, arguing that Gilchrist has transformed both the American patriarchal short story tradition epitomized by Hemingway and the southern patriarchal literary tradition epitomized by Faulkner. Gilchrist, she says, thus joins the ranks of two other women writers--Katherine Anne Porter and Kate Chopin--who have subverted the patriarchy. But Gilchrist also transforms their writing, she contends, by depicting female characters who embody refreshing, usually positive strategies for coping with oppression.
This intertextual reading reveals the traditions out of which Gilchrist's work emerges while illuminating her substantial contribution to the American traditions of the short story, southern literature, and women's literature.

Margaret Donovan Bauer, assistant professor of English at East Carolina University, has published articles on southern women writers in Studies in Short Fiction, College Language Association Journal, and Southern Literary Journal. She is the editor of North Carolina Literary Review.

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"A highly readable study of the influences of literary ancestors on Gilchrist's novels and short stories, a study that offers insights not just into Gilchrist's writings but into her four great literary predecessors as well." -Mississippi Quarterly Mississippi Quarterly

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