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Understanding Barbara Kingsolver

Ian Tan

Published: Apr 11 2024


Published: Apr 11 2024


Published: Apr 11 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Apr 11 2024


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

The most up-to-date and unified study of critically acclaimed and best-selling author Barbara Kingsolver

In Understanding Barbara Kingsolver, Ian Tan situates Kingsolver's oeuvre in an ecocritical and ecofeminist context and argues that her work puts forward an ethics of difference that informs a more egalitarian vision of the world. Following a brief biography, Tan explores ecocriticism as a literary strategy and analyzes Kingsolver's early nonfiction book, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983, as an entry point to her thematic interests. Subsequent chapters attend to Kingsolver's nine novels, including her breakout The Poisonwood Bible and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Demon Copperhead, and the ways they engage with some of the most important issues of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including postcolonialism and climate change. This book shows how Kingsolver gives her readers the aesthetic tools to begin to see the familiar and the ordinary in a different light, allowing idealism to enrich our everyday lives.

Ian Tan is assistant professor of English, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the author of Wallace Stevens and Martin Heidegger: Poetry as Appropriative Proximity and Wallace Stevens and the Contemporary Irish Novel: Order, Form, and Creative Un-Doing.

"Ian Tan captures the beauty, complexity, and, as significantly, the urgency of Barbara Kingsolver's work in this thoughtful study. In using the lenses of ecocriticism and ecofeminism in his readings of her work, Tan highlights the ethical foundation of Kingsolver's vision while still creating space to probe the rich characters and very human themes that define her oeuvre."—Catherine Seltzer, Virginia Commonwealth University

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