In The Way We Read James Dickey, editors William B. Thesing and Theda Wrede have assembled an outstanding collection of current critical responses to the works of the acclaimed novelist, poet, and teacher, including essays by Dickey's former colleagues at the University of South Carolina and a piece by his most famous student, novelist Pat Conroy. The volume breaks new ground in the application of innovative critical approaches and restores Dickey to is rightful place in the literary canon as a remarkable writer who crafted some of the best poetry and fiction of the twentieth century. A decade after Dickey's death and thirty-five years after the release of the film version of his famous novel Deliverance, Dickey remains a controversial figure in the American literary landscape. He was an intellectual maverick who was often ahead of his time, and yet he responded intensely, almost obsessively, to his own changing times. Thesing and Wrede argue that, although he appeared to conform to poetic conventions, his writing was a visionary reinterpretation and extension of preexisting traditions. This tension between a poet's intellectual precursors and the radical innovation of his work is the inspiration behind the fresh approaches taken by the contributors in this volume, just as it energized Dickey's own endeavors. The essays offer original insights through emerging scholarly perspectives as well as through established methods of critique. The contributors address a range of themes in Dickey's works, including gender, religion, humanity's relationship to nature, and the writer's cultural context. This landmark reappraisal of Dickey's legacy offers readers a coherent forum that addresses why his writings remain relevant today, thus restoring and revaluing the rising significance of Dickey's literary achievement for twenty-first-century audiences. --Publisher description.