Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World Environmental Literature 8/19

Carly Yuenger

On today's show we discuss the latest issue of Words Without Borders, "Into the Wild: International Nature Writing" with Words Without Borders editor, Susan Harris and Rochelle Johnson, Associate Professor of English and Environmental Studies at The College of Idaho.

Here they are! In no particular order, the international works of nature writing we'll discuss and links to the Words Without Border site where you can read each of them:

And, if you have some ideas of international nature writing to add, or you want to share your impressions of those here that you've read, add a comment below.

Short pieces:

Cees Nooteboom, "A Journey to Spitsbergen" : Nooteboom is considered the most important Dutch writer; he's particularly well known for his literary travelogues. A group of literary travel writers have been invited by the Norwegian government to spend a week at the Arctic Circle.

Mohamed Magani, "Seismic Activity": Magani is Algerian and writes novels in French and short stories in English; he's president of Algerian PEN. Wonderful series of associations between writing, earthquakes, cultures.

Laszlo Krasnahorkai, "El ultimo lobo" Hungarian, A tour de force: stream of consciousness, one long driving sentence about a professor thinking about the last wolf in Extramadura and the "civilization" of the wild.

Excerpts from larger pieces:

Manuel de Lope, from the novel Iberia: Spanish author, living in Spain. Narrator returns to the town of Mundaca, on the Biscayan coast, and remembers his near-drowning as a child of seven playing at a summer camp.

Nikos Kachtitsis, from the novel Mezzanine: The author is Greek, deceased; this is the first publication of any of his work in English. This is a Kafkaesque work of alienation and despair; the narrator is a Flemish ex-antique dealer living in Central Africa.

Laurentino Gomes, from 1808: Brazilian, writing in Portuguese. This book about the history of Brazil has sold over 600,000 copies in Portuguese and is unknown in the rest of the world.


Harald Weinrich, "Bestiary": German. The convention of the bestiary, here describing animals reading.

Raul Zurita, "For Love of Chile": Chilean. Sweet topographical ode.

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