Literary mentors have long been mythologized as serving in loco patris: i.e., in the place of their mentees’ fathers. Focusing on depictions of such mentorship in Tom Grimes’s Mentor (2010), the anthology A Manner of Being (2015), and Debra Weinstein's Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z. (2004), we observe that these depictions repeatedly cast mentorship as dyadic, hierarchical, and homosocial. We argue that such depictions rehearse patriarchal norms with respect to literature, gender, and parenthood while fostering fraught psychological dynamics. Consequently, we identify a need for greater self-reflexivity about mentoring relations and a greater focus on alternative forms that mentorship can take.
Surkan, Neil and McGill, Robert
"“That’s My Boy”: Challenging the Myth of Literary Mentorship as In Loco Patris,"
Journal of Creative Writing Studies: Vol. 3:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarworks.rit.edu/jcws/vol3/iss1/2