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Kerber, Jenny
Writing in dust : reading the prairie environmentally / Jenny Kerber
Waterloo, Ont. : Wilfrid Laurier University Press, c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PR9198.2.P67 K47 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Canadian literature -- Prairie Provinces -- History and criticism
Subject Prairie Provinces -- In literature
Subject(s) Ecology in literature
Nature in literature
Physical Description xi, 258 p. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 221-243) and index
Summary Writing in Dust is the first sustained study of prairie Canadian literature from an ecocritical perspective. Drawing on recent scholarship in environmental theory and criticism, Jenny Kerber considers the ways in which prairie writers have negotiated processes of ecological and cultural change in the region from the early twentieth century to the present. The book begins by proposing that current environmental problems in the prairie region can be understood by examining the longstanding tendency to describe its diverse terrain in dualistic terms-- either as an idyllic natural space or as an irredeemable wasteland. It inquires into the sources of stories that naturalize ecological prosperity and hardship and investigates how such narratives have been deployed from the period of colonial settlement to the present. It then considers the ways in which works by both canonical and more recent writers ranging from Robert Stead, W.O. Mitchell, and Margaret Laurence to Tim Lilburn, Louise Halfe, and Thomas King consistently challenge these dualistic landscape myths, proposing alternatives for the development of more ecologically just and sustainable relationships among people and between humans and their physical environments. Writing in Dust asserts that "reading environmentally" can help us to better understand a host of issues facing prairie inhabitants today, including the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture, resource extraction, climate change, shifting urban-rural demographics, the significance of Indigenous understandings of human-nature relationships, and the complex, often contradictory meanings of eco-cultural metaphors of alien/invasiveness, hybridity, and wildness
Note Issued also in electronic format
Biographical/Historical Note Jenny Kerber teaches in the areas of Canadian and American literature, literary theory, and environmental criticism in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. Her essays on Canadian literary and environmental topics have appeared in Canadian Poetry, Canadian Literature, Essays on Canadian Writing, and Green Letters. This is her first book
Contents "This soil is rich": reading the environment in the early Prairie novel -- How do you grow a nature writer? The Prairie nature memoir -- Unsettling the Prairie: the ecological poetries of Tim Lilburn, Louise Halfe, and Madeline Coopsammy -- "We're just getting started": storytelling as environmental work in Green Grass, Running Water, Sweeter Than All the World, and The Diviners
Series Environmental humanities

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