Deep Map Country : Literary Cartography of the Great Plains by Susan Naramore Maher

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By Susan Naramore Maher

Taking its identify from the subtitle of William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth (a deep map), the “deep-map” type of nonfiction and environmental writing defines an leading edge and stratigraphic literary style. featuring that its roots are available in nice Plains nonfiction writing, Susan Naramore Maher explores the various aspects of this very important type of critique, exploration, and party that weaves jointly such components of narrative as ordinary heritage, cultural background, geography, memoir, and intertextuality.
Maher’s Deep Map Country offers readers the 1st book-length research of the deep-map nonfiction of the good Plains sector, that includes writers as various as Julene Bair, Sharon Butala, Loren Eiseley, Don Gayton, Linda Hasselstrom, William Least Heat-Moon, John Janovy Jr., John McPhee, Kathleen Norris, and Wallace Stegner. Deep Map Country examines the various layers of storytelling woven into their essays: the deep time of geology and evolutionary biology; the cultural heritage of indigenous and cost groups; the non-public tales of encounters with this expansive terrain; the political and commercial tales that experience affected the unique biome and Plains economies; and the religious dimensions of the actual surroundings that press on daily realities.

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Extra resources for Deep Map Country : Literary Cartography of the Great Plains

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By 1965 the twenty-eight-year-old author “began to see the prairies as native ground, the land my hometown sat just out of sight of ” (27). Part of their fascination was that “they [did not] demand your attention like mountains and coasts but because they almost defy absorbed attention” (27). One has to intentionally “search out its variation, its colors, its subtleties” (27). One really has to concentrate the mind to make Chase County remembered earth. Later, in middle age, Heat-Moon gives his full attention to Chase County, Kansas, on the central Plains, and the 624 pages of his narrative examine every possible scale of the landscape from the 24 | D E E P M A P P I N G T H E G R E AT P L A I N S visible and invisible, the grand and the small, the native and the invasive, the human and the nonhuman, the finite and the infinite.

Architecture of grass and forb and rock and sky. ”92 A few patterns he understands; many more are unrecognizable, “but there is a pleasant sense of potential” (13). The instinct and ability to retrieve the information of place “would have been a great survival asset in our nomadic antiquity,” Gayton ponders, “and is no doubt coded into our genes” (14). All three writers share this “fine legacy”—to study the patterns, to discern the meanings, of a place (14). At the same time, they also acutely perceive the dangers facing the Plains, accelerated by settlement, commodification, modernity, and indifference.

95 But too few people express a desire to follow this kind of field-based research or even to value it or the landscape of Keith County. 96 All three writers celebrate the people who embrace resettlement, even if this perspective remains overshadowed by extractive industrial farming and ranching. Their science supports the development of sustainable Plains practices, built from the roots up. ”99 Deep mapping, then, supports bioregional resettlement, or what Gayton calls “rebalancing” work: “If we are ever to renew our earth bond, a rebalancing must occur.

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