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William B. Thesing, James Dickey's colleague at the University of South Carolina for twenty years, has a unique and complex perspective on the life and writing of this great twentieth-century American author. Dickey offers readers, students, and teachers a variety of energized and imaginative texts, and Thesing provides original and perceptive readings of his life and his novels as well as his most popular poems about animals in nature, man in nature, social and sexual relationships, women, and civilian and wartime death. This is the only introductory teaching/study guide available on Dickey's poems and novels. Chapters are conveniently organized around essential thematic categories. The author employs various modern critical approaches - from feminist criticism to deconstruction - to the poems and novels. The book will be useful in college or high school courses on Southern literature, American poetry, and twentieth-century literature.