The Bioregional Imagination
Literature, Ecology, and Place

Edited by Tom Lynch, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster

The first collection of essays in bioregional literary criticism


"This is a terrific book and a landmark contribution to our field. The essays are readable, intelligent, provocative, and grounded in the latest scholarship; they address timely and wide-ranging topics in judicious, illuminating, and sometimes unsettling ways. I predict that this will become an essential reference for both theory and practice."
—John Tallmadge, author of The Cincinnati Arch: Learning from Nature in the City

"This lucid, engaging, and learned collection has its feet on the ground and both a magnifying glass and binoculars in its hands. A terrific and practical resource, full of intriguing ideas, literary examples, and appealing places—this book will win converts to the bioregional way of thinking."
—Sue Ellen Campbell, lead author of The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture

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Bioregionalism is an innovative way of thinking about place and planet from an ecological perspective. Although bioregional ideas occur regularly in ecocritical writing, until now no systematic effort has been made to outline the principles of bioregional literary criticism and to use it as a way to read, write, understand, and teach literature.

The twenty-four original essays here are written by an outstanding selection of international scholars. The range of bioregions covered is global and includes such diverse places as British Columbia’s Meldrum Creek and Italy’s Po River Valley, the Arctic and the Outback. There are even forays into cyberspace and outer space. In their comprehensive introduction, the editors map the terrain of the bioregional movement, including its history and potential to inspire and invigorate place-based and environmental literary criticism.

Responding to bioregional tenets, this volume is divided into four sections. The essays in the “Reinhabiting” section narrate experiments in living-in-place and restoring damaged environments. The “Rereading” essays practice bioregional literary criticism, both by examining texts with strong ties to bioregional paradigms and by opening other, less-obvious texts to bioregional analysis. In “Reimagining,” the essays push bioregionalism to evolve—by expanding its corpus of texts, coupling its perspectives with other approaches, or challenging its core constructs. Essays in the “Renewal” section address bioregional pedagogy, beginning with local habitat studies and concluding with musings about the Internet.

In response to the environmental crisis, we must reimagine our relationship to the places we inhabit. This volume shows how literature and literary studies are fundamental tools to such a reimagining.

Page count: 440 pp.
24 maps, 9 figures
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Tom Lynch is an associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His book Xerophilia: Ecocritical Explorations in Southwestern Literature won the Western Literature Association’s Thomas J. Lyon Award. Cheryll Glotfelty is a professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a cofounder and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). Karla Armbruster, also an ASLE past president, is a professor of English at Webster University.