Phytofables: Tales of the Amazon

Patrícia Vieira


The Amazon has been the repository of myriad stories created as a means to make sense of the proliferation of life in the forest. In this article, I trace some of the narratives—which I call phytofables—that explorers, scientists, activists and governments have superimposed upon the region, from the green hell/earthly Paradise dichotomy to more recent discourses of economic progress and protectionism. In the final section of the article, I turn to literary texts that have attempted to listen to and interpret the voice of the forest, in particular Alberto Rangel’s Inferno Verde and José Maria Ferreira de Castro’s A Selva.


Amazonia; ecocriticism; plant studies; rubber-boom literature; phytographia

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