Joyce Carol Oates Goes Home

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  03.08.10 | 11:23 AM ET

The prolific author explores the meaning of place and home in a piece for Smithsonian magazine.

Writers, particularly novelists, are linked to place. It’s impossible to think of Charles Dickens and not to think of Dickens’ London; impossible to think of James Joyce and not to think of Joyce’s Dublin; and so with Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor—each is inextricably linked to a region, as to a language-dialect of particular sharpness, vividness, idiosyncrasy. We are all regionalists in our origins, however “universal” our themes and characters, and without our cherished hometowns and childhood landscapes to nourish us, we would be like plants set in shallow soil. Our souls must take root—almost literally.

She divulges more in a companion Q&A.

2 Comments for Joyce Carol Oates Goes Home

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I agree with you that a place shapes a person’s characteristic….

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