Imagination in Place

Overview

A writer who can imagine the “community belonging to its place” is one who has applied his knowledge and citizenship to achieve the goal to which Wendell Berry has always aspired—to be a native to his own local culture. And for Berry, what is “local, fully imagined, becomes universal,” and the “local” is to know one’s place and allow the imagination to inspire and instill “a practical respect for what is there besides ourselves.”

In Imagination in Place, we travel to the local ...

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Imagination in Place

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Overview

A writer who can imagine the “community belonging to its place” is one who has applied his knowledge and citizenship to achieve the goal to which Wendell Berry has always aspired—to be a native to his own local culture. And for Berry, what is “local, fully imagined, becomes universal,” and the “local” is to know one’s place and allow the imagination to inspire and instill “a practical respect for what is there besides ourselves.”

In Imagination in Place, we travel to the local cultures of several writers important to Berry’s life and work, from Wallace Stegner’s great West and Ernest Gaines’ Louisiana plantation life to Donald Hall’s New England, and on to the Western frontier as seen through the Far East lens of Gary Snyder. Berry laments today’s dispossessed and displaced, those writers and people with no home and no citizenship, but he argues that there is hope for the establishment of new local cultures in both the practical and literary sense.

Rich with Berry’s personal experience of life as a Kentucky agrarian, the collection includes portraits of a few of America’s most imaginative writers, including James Still, Hayden Carruth, Jane Kenyon, John Haines, and several others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Berry, an outspoken cultural critic, agrarian and prolific author (with more than 50 books), writes that imagination "brings what we want and what we have ever closer to being the same. It is the power that can save us from the prevailing insinuation that our place, our house, our spouse, and our automobile are not good enough." In these 15 essays, culled from the past two decades, Berry consistently backs up this bold statement while discussing everything from the Civil War to Shakespeare to religion. Each piece illustrates Berry's assertion that there is an unbreakable connection between a literary work and the place in which it is conceived; to that end, he examines the influence of place on his own creation, the fictional Kentucky town of Port William, as well as the integral role of the natural world in Shakespeare's As You Like It and King Lear. Some of the selections feel redundant-the point is made time and again that we must cultivate our imaginations in order to exist harmoniously with our surroundings-but this thought-provoking volume does reinforce Berry's relevance as one of America's preeminent thinkers.
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From the Publisher
Praise for Imagination in Place

"Berry's latest collection of essays is the reminiscence of a literary life. It is a book that acknowledges a lifetime of intellectual influences, and in doing so, positions Berry more squarely as a cornerstone of American literature . . . a necessary book. Here, Berry's place as the 'grandfather of slow food' or the 'prophet of rural living' is not questioned. This book ensures we understand the depth and breadth of Berry's art." —San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] stellar collection . . . Berry turns over well-tilled, ever-fertile ground in Imagination in Place. His ideas flow beyond the channels of agrarian enthusiasm. Foodies, architects, transportation engineers, and other writers are adopting and adapting his concepts, perhaps leading to what he envisions will one day be ‘an authentic settlement of our country.’” —The Oregonian

"As the local-foods movement grows and skepticism about suburban sprawl increases, Berry’s long-held ideas ring with renewed urgency." —The Christian Science Monitor

"For those who’ve already come to admire Berry’s moral clarity and closely argued critiques of contemporary society, Imagination in Place is a welcome chance to continue the conversation.” —The Christian Science Monitor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582437064
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 739,083
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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