The Opal Desert: Explorations of Fantasy and Reality in the American Southwest

Paperback | November 3, 1999

byPeter Wild

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The opalescent deserts of the American Southwest have become romantic icons in the public imagination through the words of writers, the images of artists and photographers, and the visual storytelling of filmmakers. In this spirited, personal, beautifully written book, Peter Wild explores the lives and works of sixteen writers whose words have shaped our visions of the opal desert.

Wild begins with Cabeza de Vaca, whose Relación of his desert wanderings sent treasure-hungry Spaniards searching for cities of gold. He goes on to discuss the works of both widely read and lesser-known nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors, including such luminaries as Mary Austin, Joseph Wood Krutch, Edward Abbey, Ann Zwinger, and Charles Bowden. He links all the writers as explorers of one kind or another, searching for tangible or intangible treasures, some finding and some losing their dreams in the opal desert.

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From Our Editors

The deserts of the American Southwest have been the subject of many works of fiction, poetry, art and film. Author, historian and poet Peter Wild documents some of the works that have shaped the cultural icon it has become. The Opal Desert: Explorations of Fantasy and Reality in the American Southwest is a beautifully written and perso...

From the Publisher

The opalescent deserts of the American Southwest have become romantic icons in the public imagination through the words of writers, the images of artists and photographers, and the visual storytelling of filmmakers. In this spirited, personal, beautifully written book, Peter Wild explores the lives and works of sixteen writers whose wo...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:231 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 inPublished:November 3, 1999Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292791291

ISBN - 13:9780292791299

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Cabeza de Vaca: Flaming Entrails, Burning Trees2. William L. Manly: The Classic Account of Deserta Horribilis3. J. Ross Browne and Samuel W. Cozzens: Happy Travelers through Lost Lands4. Charles F. Lummis: The Showman with the Shining Right Hand5. Mary Austin: Beauty, Madness, Death, and God6. John C. Van Dyke and the Desert Aestheticians7. William T. Hornaday: The Happy Travelers--Part 28. John Wesley Powell and William E. Smythe: God Smiles on the Irrigationists9. J. Smeaton Chase: Our Araby10. Joseph Wood Krutch: The Pronuba Moth and the Modern Dilemma11. Edward Abbey: Ned Ludd Arrives on the Desert12. Ann Zwinger and Charles Bowden: Pondering These Things in Her Heart; Tacitus Flips Out13. Peter Reyner Banham: Wheeled Voyeur from OverseasEpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex

From Our Editors

The deserts of the American Southwest have been the subject of many works of fiction, poetry, art and film. Author, historian and poet Peter Wild documents some of the works that have shaped the cultural icon it has become. The Opal Desert: Explorations of Fantasy and Reality in the American Southwest is a beautifully written and personal look at this region of the Southwestern United States.

Editorial Reviews

This is the book I would recommend to anybody interested in finding out about the literature of the American desert lands.... I enjoyed reading The Opal Desert as I would a good novel-I had a hard time putting it aside. - John P. O'Grady, author of Grave Goods and Pilgrims to the Wild