George B. Handley - book author
A Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brigham Young University, George B. Handley's creative writing, literary criticism, and civic engagement focus on the intersection between religion, literature, and the environment.
George B. Handley is the author of books: Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River, Learning to Like Life: A Tribute to Lowell Bennion, American Fork, If Truth Were a Child: Essays, Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, Postslavery Literatures in the Americas: Family Portraits in Black and White, The Hope of Nature: Our Care for God's Creation, New World Poetics: Nature and the Adamic Imagination of Whitman, Neruda, and Walcott, Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture, Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment
Handley’s meditations on the local Provo River watershed present the argument that a sense of place requires more than a strong sense of history and belonging, it requires awareness and commitment. Handley traces a history of settlement along the Provo that has profoundly transformed the landscape and yet neglected its Native American and environmental legacies. As a descendent of one of the first pioneers to irrigate the area, and as a witness to the loss of orchards, open space, and an eroded environmental ethic, Handley weaves his own personal and family history into the landscape to argue for sustainable belonging. In avoiding the exclusionist and environmentally harmful attitudes that come with the territorial claims to a homeland, the flyfishing term, “home waters,” is offered as an alternative, a kind of belonging that is informed by deference to others, to the mysteries of deep time, and to a fragile dependence on water. While it has sometimes been mistakenly assumed that the Mormon faith is inimical to good environmental stewardship, Handley explores the faith’s openness to science, its recognition of the holiness of the creation, and its call for an ethical engagement with nature. A metaphysical approach to the physical world is offered as an antidote to the suicidal impulses of modern society and our persistent ambivalence about the facts of our biology and earthly condition. Home Waters contributes a perspective from within the Mormon religious experience to the tradition of such Western writers as Wallace Stegner, Terry Tempest Williams, Steven Trimble, and Amy Irvine.
Winner of the Mormon Letters Award for Memoir.
In comparing these novels, Handley demonstrates the ways in which, ironically, U.S. culture tried to shed its own miscegenated Caribbean image of itself during the time of its greatest expansion into the Caribbean. He argues that imperialism was a means by which the United States could pretend to its own whiteness and civilization by creating a new extranational miscegenation. At the same time, the United States' encroachment in the Caribbean created an environment in which the islands' cultures called upon divergent discourses on the legacies of slavery to retain a sense of autonomy.
By offering a critique of current postslavery literary criticism in the Americas as well as exemplary comparative readings of novels by important postslavery writers--including William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Alejo Carpentier, Jean Rhys, Charles Chesnutt, Cirilo Villaverde, Rosario Ferre, and others--Handley seeks to address the major questions raised by this abundance of postslavery literature and finds meaningful correspondences that begin to show the outlines of a larger tradition of postslavery literature in the Americas.
In its exploration of the relationship between nature and culture, this collection focuses on four overlapping themes: how Caribbean texts inscribe the environmental impact of colonial and plantation economies; how colonial myths of edenic and natural origins are revisioned; what the connections are between histories of biotic and cultural creolization; and how a Caribbean aesthetics might usefully articulate a means to preserve sustainability in the context of tourism and globalization. By creating a dialogue between the growing field of ecological literary studies, which has primarily been concerned with white settler narratives, and Caribbean cultural production, especially the region's negotiation of complex racial and ethnic legacies, these essays explore the ways in which the history of transplantation and settlement has provided unique challenges and opportunities for establishing a sense of place and an environmental ethic in the Caribbean.
The volume includes an extensive introduction by the editors and essays by Antonio Benitez-Rojo, Derek Walcott, Wilson Harris, Cyril Dabydeen, Trenton Hickman, Shona Jackson, LeGrace Benson, Jana Evans Braziel, George B. Handley, Renee K. Grossman, Isabel Hoving, Natasha Tinsley, Helen Tiffen, Hena Maes-Jelinek, Heidi Bojsen, Ineke Phaf-Reinberger, Eric Prieto, and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, as well as interviews with Walcott and Raphael Confiant. It will appeal to all those interested in Caribbean, literary, and ecocritical studies.