Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Publication: "A Contested West: New Readings of Place in the American West"

We are glad to let you know about the publication of the third volume in the "American Literary West" series (Portal Editions):

A Contested West: New Readings of Place in the American West

Edited by: Martin Simonson, David Rio, and Amaia Ibarraran
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: PortalEditions, S.L. (March 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 8493970581
ISBN-13: 978-8493970581

As the title of the present book implies, this collection of essays is conceived of as a critical response to mainstream views of the American West. This third volume in the PortalEducation series The American Literary West discloses some of the many - and intriguingly different - accounts of the complex relationships between the West as a physical reality, on the one hand, and human inhabitation and interpretation of this territory, on the other. The subject, while far from new, is also far from being exhausted. In fact, it can never be, because the American West - as any other place - is a perpetual work in progress which is undergoing constant revisions. Thus, the essays of the present volume attempt to illuminate some of these new spots on the ever evolving map of the West, providing fresh perspectives on the struggle to penetrate the veil imposed by traditional accounts, and the urge to comprehend and to portray in writing a number of unique areas that have hitherto been invisible to the vast majority. The project of the writers under study is not only to produce literary archaeology, but first and foremost to offer new interpretations of old histories in a multi-faceted and changing contemporary reality.


Foreword: The West as Generator of Spirit, by Rick Bass
Introduction: The American West: AWork in Progress, by Martin Simonson

Part I: Preliminaries: Human Perception and the West
- The Bioregional Imagination in the American West, by Cheryll Glotfelty
- Small Towns in the American West as Affective Landscapes: The Example of Wickenburg, Arizona, by Nancy Cook
- Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and a Post-Pastoral Theory of Fiction, by Terry Gifford

Part II: Contested Notions of the West,
- From Green to Red: Nature Writing Goes West, by. Christian Voie
- Placing Ecocriticism in a Native Perspective, by Felisa Lopez
- “Dissolving False Divides:” A Chicana/o Revision of Urban Domestic Places, by Juan Ignacio Oliva

Part III: Case Studies: Different Wests
- Considering the Naturalist Ethos in Annie Proulx’s Fine Just the Way It Is, by Aitor Ibarrola
- Bikes Travel Back: An Inner Trip into Phyllis Barber’s Raw Edges from an Ecocritical Viewpoint, by Angel Chaparro
- Writing the Toxic Environment: Ecocriticism and the Chicana Literary Imagination, by MarĂ­a Herrera-Sobek
- The Myth of the Frontier in T.C. Boyle´s The Tortilla Curtain, by Monika Madinabeitia

Notes on Contributors


“For those who thought little new could be said about the literature of the American West, A Contested West will be a big and, I trust, a welcome, surprise. It demonstrates that analysis of the literature of the West is far from complete; indeed it’s barely begun. I am especially impressed with how this anthology is provisional and future oriented, avoiding a sense of clo¬sure and instead gesturing towards a diversity of new beginnings. By blending international perspectives with Western American voices, it shows that Western literature is not a matter of provincial interest but is indeed a topic of global significance.”
—Tom Lynch, is co-editor of The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place (with Cheryll Glotfelty and Karla Ambruster) and Artifacts and Illuminations: Criti¬cal Essays on Loren Eiseley (with Susan N. Maher), and author of Xerophilia: Ecocriti¬cal Explorations in Southwestern Literature.

“This provocative collection proves at least two things: that the American West is a diverse, ever-unfolding “biocultural” phenomenon, as richly complicated as any other place; and that ecocriticism is a diverse, evolving genre of literary scholarship and cultural studies, practiced by a wide range of talented writers. A Contested West is an exciting and authoritative addition to the canon of Western American studies and to the fields of ecocriticism and place studies more generally.”
—Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.

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