Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing Before Walden

Michael P. Branch
University of Georgia Press, 2004 - 408 páginas
Reading the Roots is an unprecedented anthology of outstanding early writings about American nature--a rich, influential, yet critically underappreciated body of work. Rather than begin with Henry David Thoreau, who is often identified as the progenitor of American nature writing, editor Michael P. Branch instead surveys the long tradition that prefigures and anticipates Thoreau and his literary descendants.

The selections in Reading the Roots describe a diversity of landscapes, wildlife, and natural phenomena, and their authors represent many different nationalities, cultural affiliations, religious views, and ideological perspectives. The writings gathered here also range widely in terms of subject, rhetorical form, and disciplinary approach--from promotional tracts and European narratives of contact with Native Americans to examples of scientific theology and romantic nature writing.

The volume also includes a critical introduction discussing the cultural, scientific, and literary value of early American nature writing; headnotes that contextualize all authors and selections; and a substantial bibliography of primary and secondary sources in the field. Reading the Roots at last makes early American landscapes--and a range of literary responses to them--accessible to scholars, students, and general readers.


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First Voyage 14921493 and Narrative of the Third Voyage 14981500
Amerigo Vespucci Mundus Novus 1503
John Smith A Description of New England 1616
Several of the American Colonies 167916801867
Beauty of the World 1725
Paul Dudley An Essay upon the Natural History of Whales 1724
Mark Catesby The Natural History of Carolina Florida
John Ferdinand Dalziel Smyth
Timothy Dwight Travels in New England and New York 18211822
in the Life of Solomon Bayley Formerly a Slave 1825
John James Audubon Ornithological Biography 18311839
Ralph Waldo Emerson The Uses of Natural History 1833
John Kirk Townsend Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains
Nicolas Point Recollections of the Rocky Mountains 18401847967
George Catlin Letters and Notes on the Manners Customs
Margaret Fuller Summer on the Lakes in 1843 1844

Thomas Jefferson Notes on the State of Virginia 1785
William Bartram Travels through North and South Carolina
in the Life and Travels of Col James Smith 1799
Charles Willson Peale Introduction to a Course of Lectures
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Susan Fenimore Cooper Rural Hours 1850
Howard Stansbury Exploration and Survey
Further Reading
Sources and Credits
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Acerca del autor (2004)

Michael P. Branch, professor of literature and environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, is cofounder and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and book review editor of the journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. The author of numerous articles and reviews, he is also editor of John Muir's Last Journey: South to the Amazon and East to Africa and co-editor of The Height of Our Mountains: Nature Writing from Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley, Reading the Earth: New Directions in the Study of Literature and Environment, and The ISLE Reader (Georgia).

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