New Scholarship: Charley Locke on Gender in Contemporary Nature Writing

May 15, 2014

By Nancy Kuhl

“’The Only Girl in the Woods’: Gender in Contemporary Nature Writing,” a Senior Essay in Humanities by Charley Locke, Y’14, Advised by Professor Amy Hungerford.

Summary: How does gender affect the American personal relationship with wilderness? In this essay, Locke explores how female nature writers address this question, shifting from the Emersonian “transparent eyeball” escape of the self to personal memoirs set in wilderness. Locke focuses on writing and interviews with Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, and Cheryl Strayed, concluding that the nature-writing-as-memoir style adopted by Williams and Strayed ultimately allows for a more individual relationship with nature, necessary for a realistic, rather than idealized, ethic of environmentalism. Read the whole essay here: Locke: “The Only Girl in the Woods.”

Related Beinecke Resources: Annie Dillard Papers YCAL MSS 422; Terry Tempest Williams Papers WA MSS S-2700; Maxine Kumin Papers YCAL MSS 734.

Image: Detail of a drawing by Marianne Moore, from the H. D. Papers YCAL MSS 24