"Reading the Roots presents a wide and representative selection of writings from the period that begins with Renaissance explorers and ends with New England transcendentalists. For a variety of reasons, this period has suffered critical and pedagogical neglect. Michael Branch's scholarship is not only sound and reliable, but timely and provocative as well."
—John Tallmadge, author of Meeting the Tree of Life: A Teacher’s Path
The selections in Reading the Roots describe a diversity of landscapes, wildlife, and natural phenomena, and their authors represent many different nationalities, cultural affiliations, religious views, and ideological perspectives. The writings gathered here also range widely in terms of subject, rhetorical form, and disciplinary approach--from promotional tracts and European narratives of contact with Native Americans to examples of scientific theology and romantic nature writing.
The volume also includes a critical introduction discussing the cultural, scientific, and literary value of early American nature writing; headnotes that contextualize all authors and selections; and a substantial bibliography of primary and secondary sources in the field. Reading the Roots at last makes early American landscapes--and a range of literary responses to them--accessible to scholars, students, and general readers.
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