Intimate Fences


Last night Lyn and I finished the latest draft of the entire book. We’re getting close. One more draft before the semester begins and we’ll be ready to send it out to potential publishers.

About 300 pages at this point. 95,000 words. Neither number reveals what a complex task this has been.

inimate fences

Table of Contents

General Introduction

Part I    

Constructing the Meaning of Barbed Wire in the Late Nineteenth Century

Chapter 1 

“Infernal Machines”: Newspapers and Magazines Debate the Meaning of Barbed-Wire Fences

Chapter 2 

“Secure and Safe Alike”: Legislative Challenges and Inventive Responses

Chapter 3  

“The Perfect Fence”: Selling Barbed Wire

Part II  

The Barbed-Wire Motif in Literature

Chapter 4

“Don’t Fence Me In”: Barbed Wire in the Western

Chapter 5 

“Intimate Fences”: Barbed Wire in the New West

Chapter 6

“The Thorny Fence”: Reifying the Religious Metaphor

Chapter 7 

“I Helped Him Build His Own Fences”: Native Americans Cut the Wire, Cut the Lies


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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2 Responses to Intimate Fences

  1. alex caldiero says:

    Perfect title. The irony of it is piercing…i hope some of that sting is in the book itself. Congratulations to the two of youse, in advance..


    • Scott Abbott says:

      thanks alex. the title comes from a story by annie proulx in which a octogenarian fighting the entropies of his life remembers the intimate fences he built as a young man. we just got a request yesterday from texas a&m press to send them the finished manuscript. that’s a big step for us. we’ll have it for them before the semester begins if we keep moving at the pace we’re on.


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