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From the Publisher"Browne (Oregon State Univ., Cascades) looks at Dewey's pragmatic ecology and applies it to frequently overlooked texts by major American environmental authors: John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), John Steinbeck and Edward Ricketts's Sea of Cortez (1941), Rachel Carson's littoral texts (from Under the Sea Wind, 1941, through The Edge of the Sea, 1955), John Haines's The Stars, the Snow, the Fire (1989), Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams (CH, May'86), and Terry Tempest Williams's Refuge (1991). Browne pursues the argument—articulated by Hugh McDonald in John Dewey and Environmental Philosophy (CH, Jul'04, 41-6458)—that Dewey's pragmatism is concomitant with his naturalism and democratic ideal, that Dewey is a monist and sees all experience as continuous and nonhierarchical. For example, Browne successfully illustrates Lopez's 'green' perspective in which human and nonhuman life are inextricably dependent, one of Lawrence Buell's requirements for a text to be 'environmental' (per his canonical The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture, CH, Sep'95, 33-0121). This crisp study, Browne's first book, derives from an article he contributed to Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment: ISLE (summer 2004), 'Activating the 'Art of Knowing': John Dewey, Pragmatist Ecology, and Environmental Writing.' Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."
“Neil Browne has produced an illuminating study of John Dewey’s philosophy that provides the first sophisticated theoretical grounding for the field of ecocriticism. . . . A particular strength is its emphasis upon aspects of Dewey’s work that anticipate intellectual developments at the end of the 20th century. These include Dewey’s philosophical embrace of Darwinian thought and evolutionary biology; his rejection of the dualisms of mind and body, nature and culture, human and non-human that have dominated Western philosophy; and Dewey’s insistence upon the contingency and situatedness of human knowledge of the dynamic natural world.”
—Louise Westling, author of The Green Breast of the New World: Landscape, Gender, and American Fiction