Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature

Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature

by Geoff Hamilton, Brian Jones
     
 

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This encyclopedia introduces readers to American poetry, fiction and nonfiction with a focus on the environment (broadly defined as humanity's natural surroundings), from the discovery of America through the present. The work includes biographical and literary entries on material from early explorers and colonists such as Columbus, Bartolome de Las Casas and Thomas…  See more details below

Overview

This encyclopedia introduces readers to American poetry, fiction and nonfiction with a focus on the environment (broadly defined as humanity's natural surroundings), from the discovery of America through the present. The work includes biographical and literary entries on material from early explorers and colonists such as Columbus, Bartolome de Las Casas and Thomas Harriot; Native American creation myths; canonical 18th- and 19th-century works of Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Twain, Dickinson and others; to more recent figures such as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, Stanley Cavell, Rachel Carson, Jon Krakauer and Al Gore. It is meant to provide a synoptic appreciation of how the very concept of the environment has changed over the past five centuries, offering both a general introduction to the topic and a valuable resource for high school and university courses focused on environmental issues.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A good writer can invoke a powerful sense of place and by doing so can influence the reader's impression of a landscape. This encyclopedia, which includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, compiles a wide selection of authors whose work the editors feel inspired American perspectives regarding the environment of the New World. The book excludes scientific writings and focuses on authors whose work represents American pastoral, gothic, naturalistic, apocalyptic, conservation, transcendental, and ideological writings. Although many of these authors are environmental writers (John Muir, Rachel Carson) for others, the sense of place was extremely important in their work (Willa Cather, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau). The accounts of Christopher Columbus and Lewis and Clark provide examples of early impressions of the American frontier, while material by Michael Crichton and Edgar Rice Burroughs offers more imaginative perspectives. Entries are arranged by the author's last name and provide engaging bibliographic information and descriptions of the writer's major works. References to other authors can be found in the body of the entries, but the work would be easier to use as a reference tool had this information been located at the beginning or end of the text. A chronology or list of categories indicating the author's school of thought or area of influence would also have been helpful. There is no table of contents. These minor issues are easily forgiven by the inclusion of truly engaging biographies and literary evaluations. Readers will be left with a desire to learn more. VERDICT An enjoyable and reliable resource for those interested in the influence of place and environment in American literature.—Susanne Caro, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula
Choice
where this volume is unique is in its broad definition of literature, encompassing formats ranging form oral histories to government policies to the fine arts. Entries are substantial, running at least a full page, and they include bibliographies. Recommended
ARBA
well-written and well-researched essays

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476600536
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
02/27/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Geoff Hamilton is an assistant professor of English literature at York University in Toronto, Canada. Brian Jones is an independent scholar in Toronto, Canada.

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