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The Global Remapping of American Literature$
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Paul Giles

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136134

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136134.001.0001

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Metaregionalism: The Global Pacific Northwest

Metaregionalism: The Global Pacific Northwest

(p.223) Chapter 6 Metaregionalism: The Global Pacific Northwest
The Global Remapping of American Literature

Paul Giles

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the metaregional dimensions of the Pacific Northwest and the ways in which its very inscription as a region elucidates the fraught and contested relation between text and place in American literature. Elettra Bedon coined the term “metaregionalism” to describe a self-conscious manipulation of certain forms of dialect. On analogy with metafiction, metaregionalism might be said to foreground the assumptions involved in traditional ascriptions of place. The chapter first considers the epistemology of space before discussing how the Pacific Northwest was tackled in the writings of Gary Snyder, Ursula Le Guin, and Richard Brautigan. It also analyzes the fiction of William Gibson and Douglas Coupland; Gibson deploys Vancouver to achieve critical distance from the behemoths of U.S. capitalism, and Coupland brings his native Pacific Northwest into the wider oceanic orbit of Asia and Australasia in order to chart a generational passage away from domestic security and entitlement.

Keywords:   metaregionalism, Pacific Northwest, American literature, place, space, Gary Snyder, Ursula Le Guin, Richard Brautigan, William Gibson, Douglas Coupland

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