Rutgers University – Camden, USA
This article takes two representatives stories by leading criollista writers, “El hombre muerto” by Horacio Quiroga and “La epopeya de Moñi” by Mariano Latorre, and re-reads them through the politically charged lens of ecological criticism. After contextualizing the study by explaining the etymologies of “ecology” and “ecological criticism” and proposing an alternative strategy of reading called “reading for the setting,” the article focuses on the shifting and delicate textual interplay in the stories between the human and the natural, finding both striking similarities and telling differences. Because of their abiding concern and respect for the earth’s larger picture, both texts are characterized as proto-ecological. The article concludes by considering some limitations of ecological criticism —simplistic moralization, exclusive concern for theme at the expense of form, blindness to the playfulness of literature— and proposes means by which to overcome those limitations.
Keywords: criollismo, ecological criticism, environment, regionalism, re-reading, reading for the setting.