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Through the Window, Out the Door, Through the Window, Out the Door, 081730908X, 0-8173-0908-X, 978-0-8173-0908-4, 9780817309084, , , Through the Window, Out the Door, 0817360123, 0-8173-6012-3, 978-0-8173-6012-2, 9780817360122, , , Through the Window, Out the Door, 0817393552, 0-8173-9355-2, 978-0-8173-9355-7, 9780817393557,

Through the Window, Out the Door
Women's Narratives of Departure, from Austin and Cather to Tyler, Morrison, and Didion
Janis P. Stout

Trade Cloth
1998. 304 pp.
1 B&W figure
Price:  $49.95 s
Quality Paper
2020. 304 pp.
1 B&W figure
Price:  $34.95 s

This informative and provocative study focuses on the centrality of departure in the texts of five major American women novelists.

An important moment in many novels and poems by American women writers occurs when a central character looks out a window or walks out the door of a house. These acts of departure serve to convey such values as the rejection of constraining social patterns, the search for individual fulfillment, and the entry into the political.

Janis Stout examines such moments and related patterns of venture and travel in the fiction of five major American novelists of the 20th century: Mary Austin, Willa Cather, Anne Tyler, Toni Morrison, and Joan Didion. Stout views these five writers within a spectrum of narrative engagements with issues of home and departure—a spectrum anchored at one end by Sarah Orne Jewett and at the other by Marilynne Robinson, whose Housekeeping posits a vision of female transience.

Through the Window, Out the Door ranges over an expansive territory. Moving between texts as well as between texts and contexts, Stout shows how women writers have envisioned the walls of physical and social structures (including genres) as permeable boundaries, drawing on both a rhetoric of liberation and a rhetoric of domesticity to construct narrative arguments for women's right to move freely between the two. Stout concludes with a personal essay on the dilemmas of domesticity and the ambivalence of departure.


Janis P. Stout is Professor of English at Texas A&M University.

“Linking the personal and the critical, Stout departs from traditional critical practice as she creates a substantial and compelling work which scholars will find invaluable to the study of women’s narratives”
Studies in the Novel

"Janis Stout's study of American women writers is a very well-informed and illuminating treatment of a subject of primary importance in American literary history."
—Elsa Nettels, The College of William and Mary

"Stout provides a heightened understanding of the uses women writers have made of women's gendered relationship to home and houses. . . . Her work identifies and keeps open the busy road between home, houses, and elsewhere."
—Mary Suzanne Schriber, Northern Illinois University

Also of Interest

Feminist Interventions in Early American Studies
Edited by Mary C. Carruth

Cather Among the Moderns
Janis P. Stout

South by Southwest
by Janis P. Stout

Playing House in the American West
by Cathryn Halverson