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The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath Setting & Symbolism

Leslie Jamison
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Iowa City

Iowa City functions as the originating and crisis point of Leslie's drinking problem. Leslie moves to Iowa City to pursue her Master's in Fiction. When she arrives there, she finds a city saturated with the myths of the drunken white men who have come before her: men like Raymond Carver and John Berryman, John Cheever and Denis Johnson. For the writers in the Iowa Workshop, Johnson's Jesus' Son was their "bible of beauty and damage" (220. She finds inspiration in these legends of men who came before her with their drinking and damage, and ruinous quests for truth. For her, half the appeal of Iowa City is in the myth like aura that hangs over its smoky, artist-packed bars. Jamison writes, "In Iowa, I spent my days reading dead drunk poets and my nights trying to sleep with live ones" (29). She originally looks up to these old...

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This section contains 1,615 words
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