"Cooper's several other contributions to the archive of nature writing, like Rural Hours, show striking observational powers along with a rich command of natural history, especially botany and ornithology. . . . All in all, the collection is full of variety and insight."
Collected here are detailed and diverse essays, some that examine Rural Hours, Susan Fenimore Cooper's most famous work, and others that help establish Cooper as a major practitioner and theorist of American nature writing and as a socially engaged artist in many other genres. These essays discuss Cooper's uses and manipulations of various literary conventions, such as the picturesque, the literary village sketch, and domestic fiction, and illuminate her positions on conservation, religion, and woman's place in society.
The engaging collection is divided into four sections. The first features essays examining Cooper's work in light of her relationship with her famous literary father, James Fenimore Cooper, and their devotion to and cultivation of each other's careers. The second focuses on Cooper's fascination with landscape and its relation to her environmental philosophies. Rural Hours is the subject of the third section, which presents new readings on its subtly crafted authorial stance, its two complementary conceptions of time, and its re-valuation of rural and scientific ways of knowing. The collection concludes with four works whose insights into Cooper's views on gender, domesticity, and environmental philosophy grow out of comparisons with several contemporary women writers.
These remarkable essays by both established and emerging scholars of nineteenth-century literature present new findings and insights into a writer who is being reintroduced to the fields of eco-criticism and American literature.
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