Cover image for At home on this earth : two centuries of U.S. women's nature writing
At home on this earth : two centuries of U.S. women's nature writing
Anderson, Lorraine, 1952-
Publication Information:
Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 404 pages ; 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS509.N3 A8 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The canon of U.S. nature writing, like the literary canon in general, has long been male-centered. But as this anthology shows, women's voices have been there since the early Republic. At Home on This Earth features the most readable and accomplished pieces of nature writing by more than 50 U.S. women authors, from the early 19th century to the present. Spanning a range of genres including memoir, story, journal entry, sketch, and essay, it brings together pieces long out of print by such forgotten authors as Elizabeth C. Wright and Edith Thomas with selections by such well-known and acclaimed authors as Rachel Carson and Alice Walker. Moving far beyond the customary association of nature writing with New England and its Yankee progenitors, the book offers work from across the United States by Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, African American, and Native American women. With its rich diversity in voices, attitudes, and styles, this anthology expands the definition of nature writing, recognizes the specific contribution of women to this genre, and shows their unique relation to the natural world. Designed for undergraduate courses as well as for general readers, the book includes a short biography of the author preceding each selection. A bibliography and list of further reading is included, as well as an index of authors and titles. Lorraine Anderson's introduction traces for the first time a distinct tradition of women's nature writing in the United States. Contributors -- Mary Hunter Austin, Marilou Awiakta, Florence Merriam Bailey, Fabiola Cabeza de Vaca, Sally Carrighar, Rachel Carson, Denise Chavez, Anna Botsford Comstock, Susan Fenimore Cooper, Terri de la Pena, Annie Dillard, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Gretel Ehrlich, Virginia Eifert, Louise Erdrich, Margaret Fuller, Susan Griffin, Charlotte Forten Grimke, Linda Hasselstrom, Julia Butterfly Hill, Linda Hogan, bell hooks, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Pam Houston, Sue Hubbell, Florence Page Jaques, Sarah Orne Jewett, Josephine Johnson, Diana Kappel-Smith, Caroline Kirkland, Maxine Kumin, Anne LaBastille, Ursula K. Le Guin, Meridel Le Sueur, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Ellen Meloy, Olive Thorne Miller, Brenda Peterson, Gene Stratton Porter, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Sharman Apt Russell, Leslie Marmon Silko, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Laighton Thaxter, Edith M. Thomas, Alice Walker, Evelyn C. White, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth C. Wright, Mabel Osgood Wright, Ann Zwinger

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

These two new volumes join the increasing number of fine nature anthologies compiled to serve as textbooks for college courses on literature and the environment and to provide perspective on the evolution of nature writing. As the expanded second edition of The Norton Book of Nature Writing, Finch and Elder's collection includes 133 authors, increased from 94, and almost three times as many women authors. Writers from the traditional nature-writing canon, such as Thoreau and Muir, are included along with minority writers who offer a different perspective on nature and our relationship to the environment. In At Home on This Earth, an anthology of female nature writers, Anderson (Sisters of the Earth) and Edwards (Such News of the Land) include well-known authors such as Rachel Carson and Annie Dillard, as well as obscure though once-prominent authors such as Olive Thorne Miller and Edith M. Thomas. In addition, they have broadened the notion of what nature writing is by including writers not conventionally a part of this genre such as bell hooks and Alice Walker. Both books cover two centuries of writings in English arranged chronologically to highlight the differences and similarities between writing of the past and present. Almost as important as the selections are the author bio-sketches and critical comments about their works, which provide the historical and social perspective for each selection. The Norton work is limited to nonfiction essays, while selections from the 51 authors featured in At Home include essays, short stories, journal entries, and memoir excerpts. Both works are essential for nature-writing collections and are highly recommended for any collection. Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, Lake Superior State Univ., Sault Ste. Marie, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Though less-often heard and published, women writers have for centuries extolled the virtues of nature. The editors of this chronologically arranged collection have assembled a variety of voices from the 19th and 20th centuries. Famous authors and political activists like Rachel Carson appear along with Elizabeth C. Wright, whose name is on the endangered-writers list. This anthology is exceptionally inclusive of diverse fictional perspectives and nonfiction narratives about nature, including selections by bell hooks, Leslie Marmon Silko, Terri de la Pena, and Alice Walker. The premise that the earth is home creates a sweet but loose focus. This said, frequent, trite descriptions of birds will make some students comatose. Personifications abound, such as Anna Botsford Comstock's admiration of the "most workmanlike manner" of a maple-leaf cutter. Whereas a particularly fine essay by Gene Stratton Porter, who primarily wrote juvenilia, touchingly portrays her family's conservation efforts, most of the selections lack any eco-feminist perspective, and the editors even include Harriet Beecher Stowe's story of cooking her favorite fish. Suitable neither as great literature nor for women's studies, the collection, in the end, is more caterpillar than butterfly. K. Jay Pace University