William Barillas

William Barillas is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is the author of many essays on American literature and the editor of the forthcoming Interior Borderlands: Writings on Latino/a Literature of Chicago and the Midwest.

Listed in: Literary Criticism · Nature · Ohio and Regional · American Literature · Literary Studies

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Winner of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature/Ohio University Press Book Prize

The Midwestern Pastoral · Place and Landscape in Literature of the American Heartland
By William Barillas

The midwestern pastoral is a literary tradition of place and rural experience that celebrates an attachment to land that is mystical as well as practical, based on historical and scientific knowledge as well as personal experience. It is exemplified in the poetry, fiction, and essays of writers who express an informed love of the nature and regional landscapes of the Midwest.

“This study establishes a distinct genre, the Midwestern pastoral—novels, poems, autobiographies, even nonfiction essays on ecology—that looks deeply into the landscape of the American Midwest, recognizing its underappreciated beauty, mourning its defilement by utilitarian farming practices and urban sprawl, and honoring what is best in its inhabitants, whether indigenous or immigrant.”

Stephen Trout, author of Memorial Fictions: Willa Cather and the First World War