I am a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, researching the relationship between masculinity and nature in the contemporary literary Western.

Proceeding from the standpoint that frontier narratives and the western genre have shaped the parameters of the man/nature relationship in the U.S. cultural imagination, I am interested in highlighting the ways in which these traditional conceptions of manliness have been challenged in an era of increased environmental awareness, and changing gender norms. My primary texts, from writers including Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Annie Proulx, Percival Everett, Thomas Pynchon, and Edward Abbey, have been chosen for the way in which they embrace the revisionist project, challenging the ‘hero’ narrative of traditional works, which pits strong, silent men against a hostile environment (Slotkin, Regeneration through Violence), and highlighting broader masculinities through discussions of race, gender, and sexuality.

This project, then, offers a dialogue between traditional and contemporary works, wherein the legacies and burdens of canonical and pulp forms can be reinterpreted in light of raised environmental awareness, and using new critical tools emerging from the growth of men’s studies and its intersections with ecocriticism and gender theory. In exploring masculinity and masculine self-fashioning through ecologically aware narrative environments, which may be sites of guilt, fragility, or fear, this project pushes beyond the traditional discourse of dominance in man/nature relations and allows for a new understanding of American masculinities within the context of the Anthropocene.


  • PhD English, University of Leeds, 2017-2020

  • MLitt Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture, University of St Andrews, 2016

  • BA English, Staffordshire University, 2012


‘Old West, Now’  http://www.oldwestnow.wordpress.com

Victoria Addis

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