Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U. S. and Beyond

Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U. S. and Beyond

by Lawrence Buell
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Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U. S. and Beyond

The environmental imagination does not stop short at the edge of the woods. Nor should our understanding of it, as Lawrence Buell makes powerfully clear in his new book that aims to reshape the field of literature and environmental studies. Emphasizing the influence of the physical environment on individual and collective perception, his book thus provides the theoretical underpinnings for an ecocriticism now reaching full power, and does so in remarkably clear and concrete ways.

Writing for an Endangered World offers a conception of the physical environment--whether built or natural--as simultaneously found and constructed, and treats imaginative representations of it as acts of both discovery and invention. A number of the chapters develop this idea through parallel studies of figures identified with either "natural" or urban settings: John Muir and Jane Addams; Aldo Leopold and William Faulkner; Robinson Jeffers and Theodore Dreiser; Wendell Berry and Gwendolyn Brooks. Focusing on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers, but ranging freely across national borders, his book reimagines city and country as a single complex landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674012325
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/28/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.87(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

"America the Beautiful," Jane Addams, and John Muir9
Environmental Imagination and Environmental Unconscious18
Outline of This Book27
1Toxic Discourse30
The Toxic Denominator32
Toxic Discourse Anatomized35
Toxicity, Risk, and Literary Imagination45
2The Place of Place55
The Elusiveness of Place59
Five Dimensions of Place-Connectedness64
The Importance of Place Imagination74
Retrieval of the Unloved Place: Wideman78
3Flaneur's Progress: Reinhabiting the City84
Romantic Urbanism: Whitman, Olmsted, and Others90
High Modernism and Modern Urban Theory103
Whitmanian Modernism: William Carlos Williams as Bioregionalist109
Later Trajectories120
4Discourses of Determinism129
Urban Fiction from Dickens through Wright131
Rurality as Fate143
Consolations of Determinism: Dreiser and Jeffers149
Observing Limits in Literature and Life: Berry and Brooks157
Speaking for the Determined: Addams167
5Modernization and the Claims of the Natural World: Faulkner and Leopold170
Faulkner as Environmental Historian171
Go Down, Moses and Environmental Unconscious177
Faulkner, Leopold, and Ecological Ethics183
6Global Commons as Resource and as Icon: Imagining Oceans and Whales196
Resymbolizing Ocean199
Moby-Dick and the Hierarchies of Nation, Culture, and Species205
Imagining Interspeciesism: The Lure of the Megafauna214
7The Misery of Beasts and Humans: Nonanthropocentric Ethics versus Environmental Justice224
8Watershed Aesthetics243
From River to Watershed244
Modern Watershed Consciousness: Mary Austin to the Present252

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