Xerophilia: Ecocritical Explorations in Southwestern Literature

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Overview

The arid American Southwest is host to numerous organisms described as desert-loving, or xerophilous. Extending this term to include the region’s writers and the works that mirror their love of desert places, Tom Lynch presents the first systematically ecocritical study of its multicultural literature. By revaluing nature and by shifting literary analysis from an anthropocentric focus to an ecocentric one, Xerophilia demonstrates how a bioregional orientation opens new ways of thinking about the relationship between literature and place. Applying such diverse approaches as environmental justice theory, phenomenology, border studies, ethnography, entomology, conservation biology, environmental history, and ecoaesthetics, Lynch demonstrates how a rooted literature can be symbiotic with the world that enables and sustains it. Analyzing works in a variety of genres by writers such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey, Ray Gonzales, Charles Bowden, Susan Tweit, Gary Paul Nabhan, Pat Mora, Ann Zwinger, and Janice Emily Bowers, this study reveals how southwestern writers, in their powerful role as community storytellers, contribute to a sustainable bioregional culture that persuades inhabitants to live imaginatively, intellectually, and morally in the arid bioregions of the American Southwest.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896726383
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Lynch is associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he teaches ecocriticism and place-conscious literature. Currently co-editing a collection of writings about Loren Eiseley and a collection of bioregional literary criticism, he is also engaged in a comparative study of the literature of the American West and the Australian Outback from ecocritical and postcolonial perspectives.Scott Slovic, founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, is professor of literature and environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is author, editor, or co-editor of fifteen books. He lives in Reno, Nevada.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The Southwest : from region to bioregions 3

Ch. 1 Acequia culture : watershed consciousness and environmental justice in literature of the Upper Rio Grande bioregion 41

Ch. 2 Border(home)lands : bioregional readings in border literature 91

Ch. 3 Dignifying the overlooked : invertebrates in Southwestern literature 140

Ch. 4 Re-sensing place : ecological aesthetics, embodied experience, and environmental literature 177

Conclusion Saving Tortugas Arroyo : are words enough? 227

Notes 233

Works cited 241

Index 253

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