Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Maile Chapman

Second Committee Member

Donald Revell

Third Committee Member

Douglas Unger

Fourth Committee Member

Jarret Keene

Fifth Committee Member

Michael Alarid

Number of Pages



Thomas Jefferson believed, or wanted to believe, that mammoths foraged the grasslands of the continental American interior. This was not an uncommon belief among the learned in Jefferson’s time and place, so it is not altogether remarkable that Jefferson did charge Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, when they led the Corps of Discovery to the Oregon coast, with keeping an eye out for signs of the living mammoth. This novel attempts an aesthetically viable narrative synthesis of American myths in several layers, the top layer being, in the words of cultural critic Cintra Wilson, a ‘‘ripping yarn’’ in the traditions of Alexander Dumas, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and more recently, George Macdonald Fraser and Larry McMurtry. Other literary influences include the fictions of C. S. Lewis and John Gardner.Beginning with a fictive treatment of the Lewis & Clark expedition, the narrative frame transitions to a reversal of Burroughs’ Tarzan stories, in which a young African American becomes the Tarzan figure, adventuring in a remote ice age wilderness in post-colonial North America. Within this admittedly outlandish scenario, I’m exploring a dramatic reduction of the war for independence, along with the themes of exploration, subjugation, courage, corruption, and the overlap between racism and speciesism. Though the novel initially presents a ‘‘Disneyesque’’ take on its settings and characters (particularly of Thos. Jefferson), these darken as they progress, leading readers to consider the American stories they are willing or unwilling to accept, against those upon which they insist.


Adventure; Jefferson; Lews & Clark; Mammoth; Slave


Creative Writing

File Format


File Size

434 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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