Simonson, Martin, David Rio, and Amaia Ibarraran, eds. A Contested West: New Readings of Place in Western American Literature. London: Portal Editions, 2012.

Book Description:

As the title of this 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 Portal Editions series The American Literary West discloses some of the many—and intriguingly different—accounts of the complex relationship between the West as physical reality, on the one hand, and the 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.

Table of Contents

Foreword: The West as Generator of Spirit by Rick Bass
Introduction. The American West: A Work 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 Hummelsund Voie
Placing Ecocriticism in a Native Perspective,
by Felisa López
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 to Phyllis Barber’s Raw Edges from an Ecocritical Viewpoint, by Angel Chaparro
Writing the Toxic Environment: Ecocriticism and the Chicana Literary Imagination, by Maria Herrera-Sobek
The Myth of the Frontier in T.C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain, by Monika Madinabeitia
Notes on Contributors



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