Denise Mary MacNeil is Associate Professor at the University of Redlands (California, U.S.A.). She holds degrees from Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D. in English), Chapman University (M.F.A. in Creative Writing; M.A. in Literature in English), and Evergreen State College (B.A., Literature and Writing Specialization), and attended Antioch College. Her research interests center on popular writing in frontier and early American literature. She is the author of The Emergence of the American Frontier Hero, 1682-1826: Gender, Action and Emotion. This book identifies America’s first prose bestseller, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682), as the source for the American frontier hero. This assertion challenges current understandings of this hero by demonstrating that this stereotypically male hero first entered American literature as a female character in the mid-seventeenth century, rather than as a male character in the early nineteenth century. It is only as the centuries progressed that this character became transgendered, losing some of it androgynous strength and emerging in its familiar and hyperbolically masculine form in the early nineteenth century. Currently, Dr. MacNeil is investigating geographic and economic influences on character and decision-making in early and frontier literary works.
MacNeil, Denise Mary. The Emergence of the American Frontier Hero, 1682-1826: Gender, Action and Emotion. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 – 2010.