Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America (FlashPoints #37) (Paperback)

Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America (FlashPoints #37) Cover Image

Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America (FlashPoints #37) (Paperback)

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Fictional Environments: Mimesis, Deforestation, and Development in Latin America investigates how fictional works have become sites for the production of knowledge, imagination, and intervention in Latin American environments. It investigates the dynamic relationship between fictional images and real places, as the lasting representations of forests, rural areas, and deserts in novels clash with collective perceptions of changes like deforestation and urbanization.

From the backlands of Brazil to a developing Rio de Janeiro, and from the rainforests of Venezuela and Peru to the Mexican countryside, rapid deforestation took place in Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century. How do fictional works and other cultural objects dramatize, resist, and intervene in these ecological transformations? Through analyses of work by João Guimarães Rosa, Alejo Carpentier, Juan Rulfo, Clarice Lispector, and Mario Vargas Llosa, Victoria Saramago shows how novels have inspired conservationist initiatives and offered counterpoints to developmentalist policies, and how environmental concerns have informed the agendas of novelists as essayists, politicians, and public intellectuals. This book seeks to understand the role of literary representation, or mimesis, in shaping, sustaining, and negotiating environmental imaginaries during the deep, ongoing transformations that have taken place from the 1950s to the present.

VICTORIA SARAMAGO is an assistant professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies at the University of Chicago.

Product Details ISBN: 9780810142596
ISBN-10: 0810142597
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: November 15th, 2020
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: FlashPoints
“Saramago gives a new twist to long-standing discussions about the status and function of fictional texts in environmental discourse and criticism, and whether realist and documentary modes are most appropriate for literature on environmental change. Ultimately, her innovative book engages with the more fundamental question of whether fictionality in and of itself gets in the way of ‘environmental messaging.’” —Ursula K. Heise, author of Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species

Fictional Environments: Mimesis and Deforestation in Latin America makes an important and novel contribution to both Latin American literary history and to environmental humanities independently, and specifically to the incipient but expanding field of Latin American ecocriticism.” —Rachel Price, author of The Object of the Atlantic: Concrete Aesthetics in Cuba, Brazil and Spain 1868-1968 (Northwestern, 2014)

“Wide-ranging, starkly original, and sharp, Fictional Environments is full of brilliant insights on the multiple relationships between writing and ecologies. While revisiting canonical texts and bringing together critical traditions often kept apart, Saramago sheds new light on our understanding of conservation, development, and the rights of nature and fiction, in Latin America and beyond. The book never loses sight of what’s at stake as it reflects on the limits and possibilities of literary creation amid ongoing environmental devastation.” —Bruno Carvalho, author of Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro


Celebrating the power of story, the inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival will be an unforgettable weekend dedicated to a shared love and language of ideas. Collected Works Bookstore is thrilled to be the official bookstore of the Festival. 

Bestselling, prizewinning authors and literary legends like Margaret Atwood, Joy Harjo, Colson Whitehead, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham, amongst others, will headline the festival, discussing their work with readings and book signings that set the stage for further inspired conversations.

NOTE: If you purchase a festival event ticket that is INCLUSIVE of the author's book, you will receive that book upon check-in for your event at the festival.

To order books by festival authors directly from CW, see below. Collected Works will be carrying a wide selection of books by all participating authors available for online pre-order and at the on-site festival bookstore May 20-23.

Purchase your tickets from the SF Literary Festival website here.

Purchase your books by festival authors directly from CW below:

Margaret Atwood     Freddie Bitsoie     Sandra Cisneros

Lynn Cline     William deBuys     Ashley Ford

John Grisham     Roshi Joan Halifax     Joy Harjo

Anne Hillerman     Cheryl Alters Jamison     Craig Johnson

Asma Khan     Phil Klay      Jon Krakauer

Valeria Luiselli     Deborah Madison      Emily St. John Mandel

George R. R. Martin      James McGrath Morris     Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co. 

Carmella Padilla     Douglas Preston     Kirstin Valdez Quade

Bob Shacochis     Henry Shukman     Hampton Sides

Bryant Terry     Darryl Lorenzo Wellington     Colson Whitehead

Don Winslow     Lawrence Wright