Rieger to Deliver Lecture on Southern Authors

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 23, 2009 — Dr. Christopher Rieger, assistant professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University, will present an illustrated lecture based on his book, Clear-Cutting Eden: Ecology and the Pastoral in Southern Literature, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, in Crisp Hall Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public.

The book, published this month by the University of Alabama Press, examines how four prominent Southern authorsᾰErskine Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulknerᾰportray nature in view of the destabilizing effects of the Great Depression, the rise of Southern modernism and the mechanization of agricultural jobs.

Rieger’s study is based on his doctoral dissertation, which won the 2002 Lewis P. Simpson dissertation award, given annually for the best dissertation in the English Department at Louisiana State University. 

Rieger, who also serves as the assistant director of Southeast’s Center for Faulkner Studies, joined the Southeast Missouri faculty in 2007, after teaching the previous four years at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. He grew up in South Carolina and holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and master’s and doctor’s degrees from Louisiana State University. 

Rieger has published essays and presented conference papers on James Fenimore Cooper, Margaret Mitchell and Larry Brown, as well as the focal authors of his book.  In his criticism, Rieger frequently examines the handling of ecological and environmental issues in literary texts.