John Burroughs combined scientific observation with poetic spirit in his nature writing. This collection of essays explores Burrough's life and character, as well as his role as a writer and his relationships with contemporaries including Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson and Muir.
This study situates John Burroughs, together with John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, as one of a trinity of thinkers who, between the Civil War and World War I, defined and secured a place for nature in mainstream American culture. Though not as well known today, Burroughs was the most popular American nature writer of his time. Prolific and consistent, he published scores of essays in influential large-circulation magazines and was often compared to Thoreau. Unlike Thoreau, however, whose reputation grew posthumously, Burroughs wasa celebrity during his lifetime: he wrote more than thirty books, enjoyed a continual high level of visibility, and saw his work taught widely in public schools. 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.
From the Preface. MOST of the papers garnered here were written after fourscore years -- after the heat and urge of the day -- and are the fruit of a long life of observation and meditation. The author's abiding interest in Emerson is shown in his close and eager study of the Journals during these later years. He hungered for everything that concerned the Concord Sage, who had been one of the most potent influences in his life. Although he could discern flies in the Emersonian amber, he could not brook slight or indifference toward Emerson in the youth of to-day. Whatever flaws he himself detected, he well knew that Emerson would always rest secure on the pedestal where long ago he placed him. Likewise with Thoreau: If shortcomings were to be pointed out in this favorite, he wished to be the one to do it. And so, before taking Thoreau to task for certain inaccuracies, he \ takes Lowell to task for criticizing Thoreau. He then proceeds, not without evident satisfaction, to call attention to Thoreau's " slips" as an observer and reporter of nature; yet in no carping spirit, but, as he himself has said: "Not that I love Thoreau less, but that I love truth more." The "Short Studies in Contrasts," the "Day by Day" notes, "Gleanings," and the "Sundown Papers" which comprise the latter part of this, the last, posthumous volume by John Burroughs, were written during the closing months of his life. Contrary to his custom, he wrote these usually in the evening, or, less frequently, in the early morning hours, when, homesick and far from well, with the ceaseless pounding of the Pacific in his ears, and though incapable of the sustained attention necessary for his best work, he was nevertheless impelled by an unwonted mental activity to seek expression. If the reader misses here some of the charm and power of his usual writing, still may he welcome this glimpse into what John Burroughs was doing and thinking during those last weeks before the illness came which forced him to lay aside his pen.
Offering a comprehensive view of the South's literary landscape, past and present, this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture celebrates the region's ever-flourishing literary culture and recognizes the ongoing evolution of the southern literary canon. As new writers draw upon and reshape previous traditions, southern literature has broadened and deepened its connections not just to the American literary mainstream but also to world literatures--a development thoughtfully explored in the essays here. Greatly expanding the content of the literature section in the original Encyclopedia, this volume includes 31 thematic essays addressing major genres of literature; theoretical categories, such as regionalism, the southern gothic, and agrarianism; and themes in southern writing, such as food, religion, and sexuality. Most striking is the fivefold increase in the number of biographical entries, which introduce southern novelists, playwrights, poets, and critics. Special attention is given to contemporary writers and other individuals who have not been widely covered in previous scholarship.
The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, originally published in 2005, is a landmark work in the burgeoning field of religion and nature. It covers a vast and interdisciplinary range of material, from thinkers to religious traditions and beyond, with clarity and style. Widely praised by reviewers and the recipient of two reference work awards since its publication (see www.religionandnature.com/ern), this new, more affordable version is a must-have book for anyone interested in the manifold and fascinating links between religion and nature, in all their many senses.