Cover image for Imagining wild America
Title:
Imagining wild America
Author:
Knott, John R. (John Ray), 1937-
Publication Information:
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xvi, 236 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
John James Audubon and the pursuit of wildness -- Henry David Thoreau and wildness -- Wilderness as energy: John Muir's Sierra -- Edward Abbey and the romance of wilderness -- Into the woods with Wendell Berry -- Mary Oliver's wild world.
ISBN:
9780472098064

9780472068067
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS163 .K58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

At a time when the idea of wilderness is being challenged by both politicians and intellectuals, Imagining Wild America examines writing about wilderness and wildness and makes a case for its continuing value. The book focuses on works by John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, and Mary Oliver, as each writer illustrates different stages and dimensions of the American fascination with wild nature. John Knott traces the emergence of a visionary tradition that embraces values consciously understood to be ahistorical, showing that these writers, while recognizing the claims of history and the interdependence of nature and culture, also understand and attempt to represent wild nature as something different, other.
A contribution to the growing literature of eco-criticism, the book is a response to and critique of recent arguments about the constructed nature of wilderness. Imagining Wild America demonstrates the richness and continuing importance of the idea of wilderness, and its attraction for American writers.
John R. Knott is Professor of English, University of Michigan. His previous books include The Huron River: Voices from the Watershed, coedited with Keith Taylor.


Author Notes

John R. Knott is Professor of English, University of Michigan.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book is organized around six American writers who find meaning and personal restoration through close observation of the natural world: John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, and Mary Oliver. As such, it augments the tradition of ecocriticism, especially that formulated by Lawrence Buell in The Environmental Imagination (CH, Sep'95) and by the contributors to The Ecocriticism Reader (1996), ed. by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. Focusing attention on the efforts of these six nature writers to imagine wild America, Knott (Univ. of Michigan) aims to "rehabilitate a vigorous tradition of writing about wilderness and wildness ... and to argue the value of these terms." The value of these terms resides in the mythic dimension where "timelessness," "purity," "Edenic," "intimacy," "wonder" and "liberation" can be and have been perceived and experienced as inherent in the natural world. Knott argues that writing about American wilderness and wildness constitutes for some a visionary tradition that "embraces values consciously understood to be ahistorical, values that cannot be accounted for simply by appeals to cultural evolution." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. S. M. Nuernberg University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh


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