Abstract

In this paper, I begin with the identification of a moment of intertextuality between Un viejo que leía novelas de amor (1989) by Chilean Luis Sepúlveda and La vorágine (1924) by Colombian José Eustasio Rivera as an analytical motif for a reevaluation of the environmentalism and political ecologies in the Spanish American novela de la selva tradition. I find that many of the well-established titles from the genre utilize a discourse of political ecology that can be characterized by its appeals to agents of the state. However, I propose a countertradition in the novela de la selva genre that expresses aspects of environmentalism such as the principles of "deep ecology," the role of emotion in nature protectionism, conservationism, the rights of nonhuman nature, etc. These works are precursors to the literary environmentalism of Sepúlveda's novel and deserve a place in the canon of the novela de la selva. Furthermore, they anticipate and inform the environmentalism of Spanish American literature in particular and, as such, ought to be considered an essential element of environmentalist discourse in general, especially if that movement wishes to include local perspectives on such a globally important ecological asset as the Amazonian selva.

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