English Language and Literature ETDs

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Robert McAlmon's fiction was never published in the United States during his lifetime. Not until the 1960s, a decade after his death, did American versions of Being Geniuses Together and Distinguished Air appear. Most recently, the University of New Mexico Press has published three McAlmon books: Village, Post-Adolescence, and Miss Knight and Others. This new accessibility will allow a reevaluation of his work.

McAlmon most often wrote about his own life and the lives of those around him. While contemporaries dismissed him as a mere reporter, McAlmon can now be seen as writing nonfiction novels and short stories, decades before that genre was recognized. This new perspective enhances McAlmon's perceptions of himself and others. In effect, he preserved the times and places he wrote about in an honest, objective manner.

McAlmon also wrote inventive, complex fiction. Short stories like "Miss Knight" and "The Indefinite Huntress" prove that McAlmon could write as well as chronicle. "Miss Knight" follows an aging transvestite through the rubble of postwar Berlin; "The Indefinite Huntress" recasts McAlmon's failed marriage to Bryher as the story of Lily Root and Red Neill. Both short stories are multi- layered and textually complex.

McAlmon can now be seen as a writer of formidable talent, one who often chose to write nonfictive fiction, but who could also create. This new critical perspective should help to reestablish McAlmon as a major writer of the 1920s and 30s.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Robert E. Fleming

Second Committee Member

Walter Putnam

Third Committee Member

Paul B. Davis

Fourth Committee Member

Ivan Melada



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