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Reviews 113 American Nature Writing 1994. Edited byJohn A. Murray. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994. 229 pages, $12.00.) Finally, there is an exciting anthology of nature writing—American Nature Writing 1994, a newly inaugurated Sierra Club series which limits its selections to publications of the previous twelve months and includes avariety of genres. Editor John Murray claims not to have sought thematic consistency, but his selections do at times suggest affinities. A previouslyunpublished excerpt from Ed Abbey’sjournals is preceded bywork of Terry Tempest Williams, who calls Abbey a mentor, and followed byLinda Hasselstrom’s “Monkey-wrencher”and a memorial by David Petersen. There are selections by the well known—a Barry Lopez memory piece, YaakValley descriptions of Rick Bass, Bill Kittredge’s rambling evocations, and Russell Chatham’s Nick Adams-like fly fishing accounts. Two writers receive their first publications in thisvolume, and poems by Peggy Shumaker, Michael McPherson (a native Polynesian environmental attorney), and Pat Matsueda are appropriately included. Most selections are short, but the mix is magical. When you want to listen to old friends, gain unique environmental insights, and hear new voices, Murray’s anthology is the answer. If it’s for a pick- up when you feel low, a classroom tool to demonstrate the variety ofenvironmentalwriting today, agift for a special friend, or a bedstand companion, American Nature Writing 1994 will serve you well. InJohn Murray’s capable hands, however, its most signifi­ cant quality may be what it promises for successive years. With the publication of this 1994 collection, Murray began soliciting nominations for the 1995 edition. I can’t wait to see what he will include. ROBERT M. BENTON Central Washington University Old West—New West: Centennial Essays. Edited by Barbara Howard Meldrum. (Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1993. 318 pages, $36.00/$29.95.) The essays in this collection were selected by Professor Meldrum from addresses and papers presented at the 1989 annual conference of the Western Literature Association. The “centennial”of the subtitle refers of course to the hundredth anniversary of Turner’s frontier thesis, and Meldrum’s introduc­ tion and the essays she has selected are contributions to the ongoing discus­ sion of the nature of the frontier and the differences between the old West and the new. The selections are arranged in five parts. Part I contains the keynote addresses by two historians, Gerald Nash and Patricia Nelson Limerick, on connections between western history and literature. Limerick’s discussion of 114 Western American Literature Raymond Chandler provides a challenging introduction to the various dimen­ sions of the myth of the West versus the reality of the new West explored by other writers in the volume. Part 2, “Paradigms of the Old West,” contains a fine analysis of the new historicism and the old West by Forrest Robinson, as well as discussions of Mari Sandoz, Willa Cather and others. Part 3, “Writing in the New West,”opens with a fascinating piece by Marilynne Robinson on her “western roots,” solitude and lonesomeness, and the myth of the West. The section also includes discussions of Robinson’s Housekeeping, and of other contemporary writers like Thomas McGuane, Ivan Doig, and Ursula K. LeGuin. Part 4 is perhaps an obligatory nod toward ethnic diversity, with an informative piece on Mourning Dove and one on playwright David Henry Hwang. The final section, “New Directions for the New West,” has only one selection, but it is an important plea by Glen Love for an ecological criticism. Like any collection, this one is occasionally uneven. But this is a continu­ ously interesting and provocativevolume that demonstrates the manydifferent ways the myth ofthe West and the nature of the “NewWest”can be intelligently and rewardingly explored. Would that each annual conference of the WLA could be represented with such a volume. Meldrum’s project and the Univer­ sity of Idaho’s support are to be commended. WALTER ISLE Rice University Dreamers and Desperadoes: Contemporary ShortFiction ofthe American West. Edited by Craig Lesley. (New York: Laurel, 1993. 532 pages, $12.95.) Craig Lesley is a more than competent editor, and this is a more than competently assembled collection of short fiction. Readers will find “heavy hitters” here...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 113-114
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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