Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and the Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present / Edition 1

Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and the Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present / Edition 1

by John Gatta
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195165063

ISBN-13: 9780195165067

Pub. Date: 10/14/2004

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Since colonial times, the sense of encountering an unseen, transcendental Presence within the natural world has been a characteristic motif in American literature and culture. American writers have repeatedly perceived in nature something beyond itself-and beyond themselves. In this book, John Gatta argues that the religious import of American environmental…  See more details below

Overview


Since colonial times, the sense of encountering an unseen, transcendental Presence within the natural world has been a characteristic motif in American literature and culture. American writers have repeatedly perceived in nature something beyond itself-and beyond themselves. In this book, John Gatta argues that the religious import of American environmental literature has yet to be fully recognized or understood. Whatever their theology, American writers have perennially construed the nonhuman world to be a source, in Rachel Carson's words, of "something that takes us out of ourselves." Making Nature Sacred explores how the quest for "natural revelation" has been pursued through successive phases of American literary and intellectual history. And it shows how the imaginative challenge of "reading" landscapes has been influenced by biblical hermeneutics. Though focused on adaptations of Judeo-Christian religious traditions, it also samples Native American, African American, and Buddhist forms of ecospirituality. It begins with Colonial New England writers such Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards, re-examines pivotal figures such as Henry Thoreau and John Muir, and takes account of writings by Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, and many others along the way. The book concludes with an assessment of the "spiritual renaissance" underway in current environmental writing, as represented by five noteworthy poets and by authors such as Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robinson, Peter Matthiessen, and Barry Lopez. This engaging study should appeal not only to students of literature, but also to those interested in ethics and environmental studies, religious studies, and American cultural history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195165067
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/14/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

1Landfall : the new world as new creation15
2Meditating on the creatures in early American life and letters35
3Intimations of an environmental ethic in the writings of Jonathan Edwards55
4"Revelation of US" : green shoots of romantic religion in antebellum America71
5Variations on nature : from the old manse to the white whale101
6"Rare and delectable places" : Thoreau's imagination of sacred space at Walden127
7Post-Darwinian visions of divine creation143
8Imagined worlds : the lure of numinous exoticism175
9Reclaiming the sacred commons199
10Learning to love creation : the religious tenor of contemporary ecopoetry225

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