People

Dr Lesley Wylie

Associate Professor of Latin American Studies

School/Department: Arts, School of

Email: lw136@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

I completed my PhD on the novela de la selva or Latin American jungle novel at the University of Cambridge in 2006 after which I took up a post-doctoral position on the AHRC project ‘American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography’ at the University of Essex. I have been at Leicester since 2009 where I am Associate Professor of Latin American Studies. I work on Latin American literature and culture from the late nineteenth century to the present and I am particularly interested in writing from Colombia, Cuba, and the Peruvian Amazon as well as the intersections between literature and the environment. I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2017-19) to complete the monograph The Poetics of Plants in Spanish American Literature (University of Pittsburgh Press 2020). I am currently working on the environmental thinking of the Anglo-Argentine writer and naturalist, W. H. Hudson, as well as completing an edited collection on the cultural and environmental histories of tropical flora entitled Understories: Plants and Culture in the American Tropics (Liverpool University Press, forthcoming).

Research

I work on Latin American literature and culture from the late nineteenth century to the present and am particularly interested in writing from Colombia, Cuba, and the Peruvian Amazon. I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2017-19) to complete the monograph The Poetics of Plants in Spanish American Literature (University of Pittsburgh Press 2020). I have a long-established interest in questions of indigenous identity and the environment in Latin America. My PhD (a revised version of which was publised by LUP in 2009) offered a postcolonial reading of the Latin American jungle novel. In 2013 I completed a book on the literary geography of the Putumayo River which formed part of the AHRC-funded project ‘American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography’, based in the Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex. I am currently editing a collection on the cultural history of plants in the American Tropics. Another current interest is the nature writings of the Anglo-Argentine author W. H. Hudson, particularly the way in which his writings on the non-human anticipate current ecological thinking. 

Publications

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Monographs

The Poetics of Plants in Latin American Literature (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020)

Colombia's Forgotten Frontier: A Literary Geography of the Putumayo (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)

Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks: Rewriting the Tropics in the novela de la selva (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009)

Edited Collections

Editor, Understories: Plants and Culture in the American Tropics (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, under contract)

Editor, Amazonian Literatures. Hispanic Issues On Line 16 (Fall 2014)

Co-editor (with Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Peter Hulme, and Owen Robinson), Surveying the American Tropics: Literary Geographies from New York to Rio (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)

Chapters

"Introduction. Green Power: Plants in the American Tropics", in Lesley Wylie, ed., Understories: Plants and Culture in the American Tropics (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, under contract)

"From Tropical Pathology to Tropical Plantation: the Hevea brasiliensis, 1839 to 1945", in Lesley Wylie, ed., Understories: Plants and Culture in the American Tropics (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, under contract)

"'That mysterious something;": Nature, mystery, and animism in W. H. Hudson’s early writing", Changes in the Landscape: Humans and Nature in Nineteenth Century Latin America, ed. Jennifer French (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming) 

"Plants, People and the Ecological Imagination in Latin America", Blackwell Companion to Latin American Literature and Culture, ed. Sara Castro-Klarén (Oxford: Blackwell, forthcoming)

"The Politics of Vegetating in Arturo Burga Freitas's Mal de gente", Intimate Frontiers: A Literary Geography of the Amazon, ed. by Javier Uriarte and Felipe Martínez Pinzón (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019)

"Anthropomorphism and Arboricide: the Life and Death of Trees in the American Tropics", Ecological Crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean, ed. Mark D. Anderson and Zélia Bora (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016)

Articles

"Afterword", in "Environmental Cultural Studies through Time: The Luso-Hispanic World". Ed. Kata Beilin, Kathleen Connolly, and Micah McKay. Hispanic Issues On Line 24 (2019): 325-334 

"Floriography, Sexuality, and the Horticulture of Hair in Jorge Isaacs' María", Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 95, 9-10 (2018): 147-158

"Of the Margins and the Center: Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda", "Gender and the Politics of Literature: Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda". Ed. María C Albin, Megan Corbin, Raúl Marrero-Fente. Hispanic Issues On Line 18 (2017): 297-306

"'La sensibilidad de lo mágico'": Human and Nonhuman Encounters in the Peruvian Amazon", Amazonian Literatures. Ed. Lesley Wylie. Hispanic Issues On Line 16 (2014): 84–102.

"Introduction", Amazonian Literatures. Ed. Lesley Wylie. Hispanic Issues On Line 16 (2014): 1–16.

"Frontier Fictions: the Place of Amazonia in Toá: narraciones de caucherías’", Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 87.7 (2010), 959-74

"'Rare Models':  Roger Casement, the Amazon, and the Ethnographic Picturesque", Irish Studies Review, 18.3 (2010), 315-330

"Green Mansions to Green Hell: Travel Writing on the Putumayo, 1874 to 1905", Studies in Travel Writing, 14.1 (2010), 43-56

"Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks: Rewriting the Tropics in the novela de la selva", Modern Language Review, 101.3 (2006), 728-42

"Hearts of Darkness: The Celebration of Otherness in the Latin American novela de la selva", Romance Studies, 23.2 (2005), 105-16

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Supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students who wish to work on any area of Latin American literature or culture from the late colonial period to the present. I have particular expertise in the following areas: Latin American regional novel; Colombian literature and film; Amazonian literature and culture; Alejo Carpentier; W. H. Hudson; José Eustasio Rivera; Nature writing; Travel writing; Postcolonial Studies; Ecocriticism; Testimony; Plant Studies

Teaching

SP2036: Drugs and Displacement in Contemporary Colombian Culture

SP3139: The novela de la selva

SP3155: The Putumayo: the History and Culture of a Latin American Conflict Zone

SP3010: Final Year Spanish Language (Translation)

Press and media

Amazonia (culture and literature); Travel writing; Latin America; W. H. Hudson 

Conferences

INVITED TALKS AND KEYNOTES

Workshop: ‘Plants in the Archive: Tracing Vegetal Roots in Carpentier and Neruda’, Latin American Plant Humanities workshop, IMLR, School of Advanced Study, London (online), (8 June 2022)

Conversation:The Poetics of Plants in Spanish American Literature with Jorge Coronado, part of the series, ‘Illumination: Conversations on Latin American Literary and Culture Studies today’, Northwestern University, USA (online), (2 June 2022)

Roundtable: ‘Amazonia and the Environment: Literary and Artistic Mediations’ (with Patrícia Vieira, Marcos Colón, Marina Bedran, Kevin Ennis, and Sarah Townsend), Latin American Studies Association Conference, San Francisco, USA (online), (5-8 May 2022)

Keynote adress: 'People Plants and the Ecological Imagination in Latin America', 'Green Hispanisms' Conference, University of Swansea (6-8 July 2021)

Roundtable: 'Human/nonhuman: Decolonial Perspectives on Life on a Diminished Planet', Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies Online Series, Pandemonio 2021 (in discussion with Jens Andermann Victoria Saramago Mary Louise Pratt Freya Schiwy and Jennifer Wenzel) (8 February 2021)

Workshop: 'Plants Politics and Latin American Identity', 'Science and Nature in Latin America', UCL, London (17 September 2019)

Discussant: ‘Amazonian Ecocritical Thinking’, Latin American Studies Association Conference, Barcelona (23-26 May 2018)

Invited symposium paper: 'Floriography horticulture and the dynamics of dispossession in Jorge Isaacs’ María', 'Magical Dispossessions: Nature Capital and Conflict in Colombia', University of Cambridge (28-29 April 2017)

Roundtable: 'What is it like to be a Tree?: Anthropomorphism and Phytomorphism in Literature of the Putumayo', 'Landscapes of Abandonment', Birkbeck University of London (6 April 2017)

Keynote Address: 'The Poetics of Plants in Latin American Literature' , 'Shaping Nature Shaping Humans: Entwined Landscapes in Latin America' Conference, University of Edinburgh (13 March 2017) 

Workshop: ‘“The Right to be Lazy”: Men, Myths, and Plants in Literature of the Amazon’, Environmental Debates and Policies Workshop, Institute of Latin American Studies (15 May 2014)

Research Seminar: ‘Yagé as “space time travel”: the Aesthetics of an Amazonian Hallucinogen’, Centre for the Comparative Study of the Americas Seminar, University of Swansea (21 January 2011)

Research Seminar: ‘César Uribe Piedrahita’s Tóa: an Amazonian Novel?’, Modern Hispanic Studies Research Seminar,  University of Oxford (18 November 2008)

Research Seminar: 'César Uribe Piedrahita’s Tóa: an Amazonian Novel?’, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex (16 October 2008)

 

Qualifications

2018 Fellow of Higher Education Academy

2006 PhD Department of Spanish University of Cambridge

2003 MPhil in European Literature University of Cambridge (Distinction)

2001 BA (Hons) First Class, Spanish and English Literature Trinity College Dublin 

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