Deep Map Country

Literary Cartography of the Great Plains

Susan Naramore Maher

University of Nebraska (publisher)

Taking its name from the subtitle of William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth (a deep map), the “deep-map” form of nonfiction and environmental writing defines an innovative and stratigraphic literary genre. Proposing that its roots can be found in Great Plains nonfiction writing, Susan Naramore Maher explores the many facets of this vital form of critique, exploration, and celebration that weaves together such elements of narrative as natural history, cultural history, geography, memoir, and intertextuality.  Maher’s Deep Map Country gives readers the first book-length study of the deep-map nonfiction of the Great Plains region, featuring writers as diverse 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 many layers of storytelling woven into their essays: the deep time of geology and evolutionary biology; the cultural history of indigenous and settlement communities; the personal stories of encounters with this expansive terrain; the political and industrial stories that have affected the original biome and Plains economies; and the spiritual dimensions of the physical environment that press on everyday realities.  

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