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American Georgics: Economy and Environment in American Literature, 1580-1864

Overview

In classical terms the georgic celebrates the working landscape, cultivated to become fruitful and prosperous, in contrast to the idealized or fanciful landscapes of the pastoral. Arguing that economic considerations must become central to any understanding of the human community's engagement with the natural environment, Timothy Sweet identifies a distinct literary mode he calls the American georgic.

Offering a fresh approach to ecocritical and environmentally-oriented literary...

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American Georgics: Economy and Environment in American Literature, 1580-1864

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Overview

In classical terms the georgic celebrates the working landscape, cultivated to become fruitful and prosperous, in contrast to the idealized or fanciful landscapes of the pastoral. Arguing that economic considerations must become central to any understanding of the human community's engagement with the natural environment, Timothy Sweet identifies a distinct literary mode he calls the American georgic.

Offering a fresh approach to ecocritical and environmentally-oriented literary studies, Sweet traces the history of the American georgic from its origins in late sixteenth-century English literature promoting the colonization of the Americas through the mid-nineteenth century, ending with George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature (1864), the foundational text in the conservationist movement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sweet offers a wide-ranging examination of the agricultural work of North American men and women as seen through the lens of literature. . . . Sweet's greatest achievement is his ability to integrate hundreds of years of discourse about the North American continent into a cohesive narrative of evolving perceptions of environment and humankind's role in shaping it."—American Literature

"Thoughtful, critically intelligent, and well-informed."—Lawrence Buell, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812236378
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/19/2001
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Sweet is Professor of English at West Virginia University. He is the author also of Traces of War: Poetry, Photography, and the Crisis of the Union.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Economy and Environment in Sixteenth-Century Promotional Literature 12
2 "God Sells Us All Things for Our Labour": John Smith's Generall Historie 29
3 "Wonder-Working Providence" of the Market 50
4 "Admirable Oeconomy": Robert Beverley's Calculus of Compensation 74
5 Ideologies of Farming: Crevecoeur, Jefferson, Rush, and Brown 97
6 Cherokee "Improvements" and the Removal Debate 122
7 "Co-Workers with Nature": Cooper, Thoreau, and Marsh 153
Notes 177
Woks Cited 203
Index 215
Acknowledgments 223
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