Monthly Archives: August 2004

Ecocriticism: Creating Self and Place in Environmental and American Indian Literatures by Donelle N. Dreese

Donelle N. Dreese’s short book, Ecocriticism: Creating Self and Place in Environmental and American Indian Literatures, manages to cover, in the space of only 116 pages (not counting the index or bibliography) and five chapters, 10 major works by contemporary Native American and feminist writers. The thesis and purpose of the book is quite ambitious: “Working from postcolonial and ecocritical theoretical notions that place is inherent in configurations of the self and in the establishment of community and holistic well-being, the purpose of this book is to examine the centrality of landscape in contemporary poetry and prose works by writers who, either through mythic, psychic, or geographic channels, have identified a landscape or environment as intrinsic to their own conceptualizations of self” (3). The first of the book’s six chapters contains the theoretical underpinnings that support her subsequent readings of N. Scott Momaday, Linda Hogan (whose work is examined twice, in chapters 2 and 4), Joy Harjo, Chrystos, Gloria Anzaldúa, Susan Griffin, Wendell Berry, Simon Ortiz, Wendy Rose and Gerald Vizenor. By covering major works by these important authors who frequently turn up on the reading list of a feminist or Native American literature class, Ecocriticism should be an important contribution useful for both students and professors. Continue reading