The arid American Southwest is host to numerous organisms described as desert-loving, or xerophilous. Extending this term to include the regions 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. '[W]hether I notice or not, the landscape suffuses my body. Intermingled scents enter my lungs with each breath: dust, rock, juniper, turpentine bush, mountain mahogany, the heady mix of volatile oils of the creosote bush, and the ever-so-subtle odor of blue sky. Though less often articulated, all of my senses, not just vision, are engaged; the phenomena of this world circulate through me, and I through them. The landscape caresses as I pass through...On my feet again, I hobble from stiffness, throw my pack on, and, leaning on my sotol stalk for balance, begin to pick my way zigzag down the long rocky slope. I am in love with this landscape.
I am, indeed, a devoted xerophile' - from the introduction.
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(210mm x 162mm x 27mm)
Texas Tech Press,U.S.
Publisher: Texas Tech Press,U.S.
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Author Biography - Tom Lynch
Born October 11, 1955, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania University of Oregon Ph.D. 1989 University of Oregon M.A. 1982 Indiana University of Pennsylvania B.A. 1977 Awards The O. Marvin Lewis Award for the best nonfiction work appearing in Weber Studies in 1997 for "The Domestic Air of Wilderness: Henry Thoreau and Joe Polis in the Maine Woods" Other publications Ed. El Lobo: Readings on the Mexican Gray Wolf (U of Utah P, Oct. 2005) Topic: Mexican gray wolf restoration program Professional meetings regularly attended Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Western Literature Association Capsule bio, au. version: Tom Lynch is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he teaches ecocriticsm and place-conscious literatures. For six years he taught literature of the Southwest at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and spent as much time as possible exploring the desert landscapes of the Southwest. His experiences there, both in the classroom and on the trail, provided the inspiration for this book. He is the editor of El Lobo: Readings on the Mexican Gray Wolf (2005), an anthology of essays which addresses the natural and cultural context of the Mexican wolf reintroduction program. Currently, he is at work on an ecocritical and postcolonial study of the literatures of the American West and the Australian Outback. Author's personal statement: For six years I taught Southwestern literature at New Mexico State University. At the same time, I was spending as much time as possible hiking the mountains and deserts of the Southwest. This book brings together those two very different sorts of experiences, the study and teaching of literature and the physical engagement with the places that literature seeks to represent.