Reading and writing a landscape: A rhetoric of southwest desert literature.
KeywordsAmerican literature -- Southwest, New -- History and criticism
American literature -- Southwest, New -- Composition and exercises.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractUsing a transactional model of reading and writing, the dissertation discusses rhetorical aspects of the experience and representation of the American desert. The dissertations extends recent nonfiction scholarship that claims nature writing as literature by focusing on seven major nonfiction works: Some Strange Corners of Our Country (1891), by Charles F. Lummis; The Desert (1901), by John C. Van Dyke; The Land of Little Rain (1903), by Mary Austin; The Desert Year (1952), by Joseph Wood Krutch; Desert Solitaire (1968), by Edward Abbey; Desert Notes (1976), by Barry Lopez; and Secrets from the Center of the World (1990), by Joy Harjo and Stephen Strom. The Desert, by John C. Van Dyke, is treated in depth, in terms of its use of aesthetic experience to argue for conservation and for a particular philosophy of nature. Van Dyke's establishes his rhetorical stance (including the creation of the narrator and appeals he makes to particular audiences) and initiates his aesthetic and scientific delineation of the subject in the preface to the book, which is studied in detail.