Seeds of Change by Priscilla Leder Summary
Barbara Kingsolver's books have sold millions of copies. The Poisonwood Bible was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and her work is studied in courses ranging from English-as-a-second-language classes to seminars in doctoral programs. Yet, until now, there has been relatively little scholarly analysis of her writings. Seeds of Change: Critical Essays on Barbara Kingsolver, edited by Priscilla V. Leder, is the first collection of essays examining the full range of Kingsolver's literary output. The articles in this new volume provide analysis, context, and commentary on all of Kingsolver's novels, her poetry, her two essay collections, and her full-length nonfiction memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Professor Leder begins Seeds of Change with a brief critical biography that traces Kingsolver's development as a writer. Leder also includes an overview of the scholarship on Kingsolver's oeuvre. Organized by subject matter, the 14 essays in the book are divided into three sections tha deal with recurrent themes in Kingsolver's compositions: identity, social justice, and ecology. The pieces in this ground-breaking volume draw upon contemporary critical approaches—ecocritical, postcolonial, feminist, and disability studies—to extend established lines of inquiry into Kingsolver's writing and to take them in new directions. By comparing Kingsolver with earlier writers such as Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau, the contributors place her canon in literary context and locate her in cultural contexts by revealing how she re-works traditional narratives such as the Western myth. They also address the more controversial aspects of her writings, examining her political advocacy and her relationship to her reader, in addition to exploring her vision of a more just and harmonious world. Fully indexed with a comprehensive works-cited section, Seeds of Change gives scholars and students important insight and analysis which will deepen and broaden their understanding and experience of Barbara Kingsolver's work. Priscilla V. Leder has published articles in Mississippi Quarterly, ISLE (Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment), Amerikastudien/American Studies, and Southern Studies. She is professor of English at Texas State University—San Marcos.