Uncovering New Ground for American Nature Writing

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  • Title: Uncovering New Ground for American Nature Writing: Discourses of Natural History from John Bartram to Wilson Flagg
  • Author(s): Li-Ru Lu
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Year: 2014
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-61229-608-1
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-61229-670-8
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/978-1-61229-609-8/CGP
  • Citation: Lu, Li-Ru. 2014. Uncovering New Ground for American Nature Writing: Discourses of Natural History from John Bartram to Wilson Flagg. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-61229-609-8/CGP.
  • Extent: 119 pages

Abstract

Situating the work of John Bartram, Peter Kalm, John Davidson Godman, and Thomas Wilson Flagg at an exciting intersection between natural history and aesthetics, this study argues for the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century origins of the North American tradition of environmental thought. The work of these authors contains profound attentiveness to the wonder and beauty of nonhuman nature at a culturally significant period in the nation’s history. Lu offers thorough explorations and examinations of the connections between natural history discourses, close observations of nature, and sustainability and conservation ethics, tracing the ways in which the writing of Bartram, Kalm, Godman and Flagg anticipates twentieth-century American conservation thinking. One of the distinctive features of Uncovering New Ground for American Nature Writing is its attention to under-scrutinized authors, such as Flagg, and the descriptive power of his writings. The prose writing treated in this book is scientifically and aesthetically valuable and influential, because of its devotion to the discovery of plants, trees, and wildlife combined with a literary language. The four authors analysed in this book make far-reaching connections between a vast number of nonhuman inhabitants and their environment in North America.