Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture

Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture

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Cambridge University Press

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Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture

An important though little understood aspect of the response to nature of nineteenth-century Americans is the widespread interest in the scenery of swamps, jungles and other waste lands. Dark Eden focuses on this developing interest in order to redefine cultural values during a transformative period of American history. Professor Miller shows how, for many Americans in the period around the Civil War, nature came to be regarded less as a source of high moral insight and more as a sanctuary from an ever more urbanized and technological environment. In the swamps and jungles of the South a whole range of writers found a set of strange and exotic images by which to explore the changing social realities of the times and the deep-seated personal pressures that accompanied them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521375535
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/26/1990
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #43
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.83(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. The Matrix of Transformation: 1. To the lake of the dismal swamp: Porte Crayon's inward journey; 2. The elusive Eden: the mid-Victorian response to the swamp; 3. Mid-Victorian cultural values and the amoral landscape: the swamp image in the work of William Gilmore Simms and Harriet Beecher Stowe; Part II. The Phenomenology of Disintegration: 4. Frederic Church in the tropics; 5. The penetration of the jungle; 6. American nature writing in the mid-Victorian period: from pilgrimage to quest; 7. A loss of vision: the cultural inheritance; 8. A loss of vision: the challenge of the image; 9. Infection and imagination: the swamp and the atmospheric analogy; Part III. The Circuit of Death and Regeneration: 10. Immersion and regeneration: Emerson and Thoreau; 8. The identification with desert places: Martin Johnson Heade and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman; 12. Religion, science, and nature: Sidney Lanier and Lafcadio Hearn; Conclusion: Katherine Anne Porter's Jungle and the Modernist idiom; Appendix; Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index.

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