Our Common Dwelling

Overview

Lance Newman explores why America's first literary circle turbaned to nature in the 1830s and 40s. When the New England Transcendentalists spiritualized nature, they were reacting to intense class conflict in the region's industrializing cities. Their goal was to find a secular foundation for their social authority as an intellectual elite. Our Common Dwelling engages with works by William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others. The works of these ...

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Overview

Lance Newman explores why America's first literary circle turbaned to nature in the 1830s and 40s. When the New England Transcendentalists spiritualized nature, they were reacting to intense class conflict in the region's industrializing cities. Their goal was to find a secular foundation for their social authority as an intellectual elite. Our Common Dwelling engages with works by William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others. The works of these great authors, interpreted in historical context, show that both environmental exploitation and conscious love of nature co-evolved as part of the historical development of American capitalism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this brilliant and urgent book, Newman clears away the cobwebs to reintroduce us to our radical contemporary: Thoreau."—Mike Davis, University of California, Irvine

"In a style at once meticulous and dramatic, Lance Newman situates American literary Romanticism in the context of working-class radicalism, political and social reform, and incipient environmentalism. By exhorting readers to pay attention to the material conditions that determine the creation of literature, Newman provides an elaborate cautionary demonstration for scholars—and, in particular, for ecocritics—who tend to extract art from history. This illuminating study explores, in essence, the intellectual roots of the social movements known today as environmental justice and liberation ecology."—Scott Slovic, author of Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing

"Newman invites us to rethink everything we thought we knew about Thoreau and Transcendentalism. What's at stake here is nothing less than our own future, for as Newman argues eloquently, we cannot improve our relationship with nature until we turban away from the "politics of nostalgia" and reconnect, like Thoreau and the Transcendentalists, with democratic radicalism. Urgent, powerful, thoughtful, clear-sighted: this is engaged criticism at its finest. Anyone interested in Thoreau, ecocriticism, or environmental justice will find here both provocation and hope."—Laura Walls, University of South Carolina

"Lance Newman's Our Common Dwelling is an ambitious and substantial reinterpretation of 19th century New England literature that will be of wide interest both to literature-and-environment studies and to students of American literature and culture in general. This book confirms what Newman's recent essays have shown: that he is one of the most penetrating and forceful voices among the new wave of American ecocritics."—Lawrence Buell, author of The Environmental Imagination and Writing for an Endangered World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403967794
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Lance Newman is Assistant Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at California State University at San Marcos.

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Table of Contents

The Commitments of Ecocriticism
• The Nature of Cultural History
• Class Struggle in New England
• Transcendentalism as a Social Movement
• Nathaniel Hawthorne, Democracy, and the Mob
• Margaret Fuller, Rock River, and the Condition of America
• William Wordsworth in New England and the Discipline of Nature
• William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, and the Poetry of Nature
• Ralph Waldo Emerson, Orestes Brownson, and Transcendentalism
• Transcendentalist Reformers, Scholars, and Nature
• Brook Farm and Association
• Capitalism and the Moral Geography of Walden
Walden, Association, and Organic Idealism
• Nature, Politics, and Thoreau's Materialism
Wild Fruits, Capitalism, and Community
• Ecocriticism and the Uses of Nature Writing
• Marxism, Nature, and the Discipline of History

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Comment by Mike Davis

    ¿In this brilliant and urgent book, Newman clears away the cobwebs to reintroduce us to our radical contemporary: Thoreau.'--Mike Davis (University of California, Irvine), author of _Ecology of Fear_ and _Late Victorian Holocausts_

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