"A comprehensive, insightful reading of one of America's greatest nature writers. Warren covers Burroughs' entire career, carefully calibrating his character and achievements against those of his influential companions Thoreau, Whitman, Roosevelt, and Muir while, at the same time, evoking their distinctive literary styles and environmental values. It is easy to see how Burroughs' original combination of lyric natural history, agrarian pastoral, cultural criticism, and biophilia could inspire millions of readers from school children to presidents. Beautifully written and deeply informed, this book will speak not only to ecocritics and environmental historians, but to anyone who cherishes the green and living earth."
—John Tallmadge, author of The Cincinnati Arch: Learning from Nature in the City
James Perrin Warren shows how Burroughs helped guide urban and suburban middle-class readers “back to nature” during a time of intense industrialization and urbanization. Warren discusses Burroughs’s connections not only to Muir and Roosevelt but also to his forebears Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. By tracing the complex philosophical, creative, and temperamental lineage of these six giants, Warren shows how, in their friendships and rivalries, Burroughs, Muir, and Roosevelt made the high literary romanticism of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman relevant to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Americans. At the same time, Warren offers insights into the rise of the nature essay as a genre, the role of popular magazines as shapers and conveyors of public values, and the dynamism of place in terms of such opposed concepts as retreat and engagement, nature and culture, and wilderness and civilization.
Because Warren draws on Burroughs’s personal, critical, and philosophical writings as well as his better-known narrative essays, readers will come away with a more informed sense of Burroughs as a literary naturalist and a major early practitioner of ecocriticism. John Burroughs and the Place of Nature helps extend the map of America’s cultural landscape during the period 1870-1920 by recovering an unfairly neglected practitioner of one of his era’s most effective forces for change: nature writing.
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List price: $44.95
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