A History of Ecology and Environmentalism in Spanish American Literature undertakes a comprehensive ecocritical examination of the region's literature from the foundational texts of the nineteenth century to the most recent fiction.
The book begins with a consideration of the way in which Argentine Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's views of nature through the lens of the categories of "civilization" and "barbarity" from Facundo (1845) are systematically challenged and revised in the rest of the century. Subsequently, my book develops the argument that a vital part of the cultural critique and aesthetic innovations of Spanish American modernismo involve an ecological challenge to deepening discourses of untamed development from Europe and the United States. In other chapters, many of the well-established titles of regional and indigenista literature are contrasted to counter-traditions within those genres that express aspects of environmental justice, "deep ecology," the relational role of emotion in nature protectionism and conservationism, even the rights of non-human nature.
Finally, the concluding chapters find that the articulation of ecological advocacy in recent fiction is both more explicit than what came before but also impacts the formal elements of literature in unique ways. Textual conventions such as language, imagery, focalization, narrative sequence, metafiction, satire, and parody represent innovations of form that proceed directly from the ethical advocacy of environmentalism.
A History of Ecology and Environmentalism in Spanish American Literature concludes with comments about what must follow as a result of the analysis including the revision of canon, the development of literary criticism from novel approaches such as critical animal studies, and the advent of a critical dialogue within the bounds of Spanish American environmentalist literature.
This book attempts to develop a sense of the way in which ecological ideas have developed over time in the literature, particularly the way in which many Spanish American texts anticipate several of the ecological discourses that have recently become so central to global culture, current environmentalist thought, and the future of humankind.
Part One: Foundations, Aesthetics, Ecology
One: Foundations of Environment: Literary Political Ecologies of 19th Century Southern Cone Literature
Two: Foundations from Topography: Literary Political Ecologies of 19th Century Andean, Amazonian, Caribbean, and Central American Literature
Three: Green Modernism
Part Two: Land, People, Ecology
Four: Swallowed: Environmentalism in the Spanish American novela de la selva
Five: Other Lands: Ecology in the Spanish American novela de la tierra
Six: Ruin: The Precedents of Ecological Destruction in Early and Canonical indigenista Novels
Seven: Indigenous Land: Place, then Space
Part Three: Literature, Environmentalism, Ecology
Eight: Nature after the "Boom": Ecology and Environmentalism in Late 20th Century Spanish American Fiction
Nine: Eco-Satire: Green Humor, Contaminated Imagery, and Environmental Language in Recent Spanish American Fiction
Ten: Paradise Trashed: Utopian and Dystopian Ecological Scenarios in Gioconda Belli's Waslala and Fernando Raga's Gaia Trilogy
About the Author
Scott M. DeVries is associate professor of Spanish at Bethel College, Indiana. He is the author of a variety of articles on Spanish American literature and film whose work has appeared in Hispania, Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture, and Environment, and the Christian Scholar's Review.
"[R]eaders will find that DeVries possesses a thorough understanding of ecological criticism and environmentalism, exemplified by the book's introduction, where he establishes the theoretical framework for his study. For the benefit of those readers who do not have advanced proficiency in reading Spanish he provides an English translation of all Spanish quotations, including definitions of commonly employed Spanish American cultural and literary terminology. Readers who are unacquainted with Spanish American literature, beyond internationally known giants such as Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, or Pablo Neruda, will appreciate the sweeping scope of the author's work. DeVries has managed to deal in a cohesive fashion with a two-hundred year period – the post-independence literary production of the nineteen countries of the western hemisphere in which Spanish is an official language – unfolding 'the tradition of an ecological literature from Mexico to Patagonia and from Puerto Rico to Easter Island'. Those who are already familiar with Spanish American literature will value his insights into ecocriticism as well as his examination of the canon from a fresh perspective. As is the case with most groundbreaking studies, DeVries's work suggests myriad possibilities for future scholarship."
– ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment