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Where the Wild Books Are

A Field Guide to Ecofiction

Jim Dwyer

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: University of Nevada Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-7

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pp. vii-x

In the early 1970s a veritable fusillade of new fiction emanating from the environmental movement exploded onto the American literary scene. As with the new feminist fiction, these books weren’t mere escapism, even though many were action-packed and entertaining. As critics joined the ranks of readers, a new term emerged: ecofiction. A look back at the literature reveals that...

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pp. xi-xii

My deepest and most sincere thanks to: Margaret Dalrymple, Joanne O’Hare, and the late Trudy McMurrin of the University of Nevada Press. Jo Ann Bradley and Flora Quinn of the California State University, Chico, Meriam Library Interlibrary Loan Department (ILL) and ILL staff from other...

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1. Ecocriticism and Ecofiction: Definitions and Analyses

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pp. 1-8

One of the most significant developments in literary criticism over the previous quarter century is the proliferation of an ecocritical approach to literature. Cheryll Glotfelty notes a curious disconnection between previous literary scholarship and the real world: “If your knowledge of the outside world were limited to what you could infer from the major publications of the...

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2. Ecofiction’s Roots and Historical Development

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pp. 9-31

Ecofiction’s roots are as ancient as pictograms, petroglyphs, and creation myths. Nature forms the very core of Native American, Australian Aboriginal, pagan, Celtic, Taoist, and many other cosmologies and their associated oral and written literature. These legends and the values they represent are echoed in contemporary ecofiction by indigenous and white authors alike. They can be found...

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3. Contemporary Ecofiction

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pp. 32-68

Most of the authors from the 1970s were in the beginning or middle of their careers, and have continued to write. Over the past quarter century, many new authors have emerged and a wide variety of ecofiction continues to be written. This chapter will consider the major subdivisions of contemporary ecofiction...

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4. Native American and Canadian Ecofiction

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pp. 69-78

Native Americans have a rich, ancient oral tradition. Storytelling has been revived in recent decades, there are hundreds of good to outstanding poets, and the number of fine fiction writers continues to grow. Since Indian cosmology includes humanity as part and parcel of nature, it is hardly surprising that much Native fiction is ecofiction...

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5. Ecofiction from All Around the World

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pp. 79-107

Since the earth’s current ecological crisis knows no boundaries, it is hardly surprising to find ecofiction being written and read almost everywhere. Before embarking upon this study, I believed that contemporary ecofiction was primarily a product of the American West in the 1970s. I still maintain that that time and place can be considered the golden decade of ecofiction...

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6. Ecoromance: Doin' the Wild Thing

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pp. 108-116

What could be more natural than sex? Sexual relationships are a common component of ecofiction, typically as a secondary plot integrated into the story, only occasionally as the predominant one. Few ecofictions fit a classic category romance literature formula, in which men are spectacularly handsome but not necessarily deep and can be “tamed” by resourceful but...

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7. The Real West

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pp. 117-128

They are the worst of books. They are the best of books. The worst books about the West tend to be published by eastern publishers and are intended to appeal to and reinforce an eastern or European audience’s romantic, simplified notions and biases regarding the West. They tend to be rapidly written, formulaic potboilers: purple prose about the purple sage. Regardless of whether the authors are utter...

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8. Green Speculative Fiction

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pp. 129-163

Speculative fiction is extremely wide ranging and inclusive in presenting a variety of alternatives regarding philosophy and cosmology, political and social organization, applications of technology, environmental thought and practices, the relation between humans and other animals, and the relations between genders, races, and individuals...

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9. Mysteries

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pp. 164-183

Development deals, high-tech secrecy, corporate-political corruption, endangered species, and animal rights controversies are all inherently controversial and loaded with subterfuge: perfect mystery material. The most significant current trend in mystery writing is the prevalence of female authors and protagonists, with over half of these books...

Appendix: 100 Best Books

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pp. 185-188


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pp. 189-193


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pp. 195-255


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pp. 257-264

E-ISBN-13: 9780874178128
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874178111

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010


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Subject Headings

  • Ecocriticism.
  • Ecofiction -- History and criticism.
  • Ecofiction -- Bibliography.
  • Ecology in literature.
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