Visions of the Land
Science, Literature, and the American Environment from the Era of Exploration to the Age of Ec
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Virginia Press
Table of Contents
Many friends and colleagues read parts or all of this manuscript, provided helpful and insightful advice, and supplied muchneeded moral support during this project. My graduate mentor, Susan Squier, provided inspiration and guidance throughout my initial research, on-the-mark criticisms of various drafts, timely
This book investigates the connections between the representation of nature and the practice of science in America from the 1840s to the 1960s, as explored in the texts of seven American writers: John Charles Frémont, Richard Byrd, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, John Wesley Powell, Susan Cooper, Rachel Carson, and Loren Eiseley. In one...
▪Part 1▪: Narratives of Exploration and the Scientist-Hero
Chapter One: “I Saw Visions”: John Charles Frémont and the Explorer-Scientist as Nineteenth-Century Hero
In nineteenth-century America, science was not confined to the laboratory, bound up in a mythos of isolation and otherworldliness, inaccessible to the public mind. Rather, science quite often denoted “action” in the rapidly expanding United States. The practice of natural history and...
Chapter Two: “The Evidence of My Ruin”: Richard Byrd’s Antarctic Sojourn
Nearly a century after Frémont’s 1842 expedition to the Rocky Mountains, aviation pioneer and polar explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd set out to do some serious science on the Ross Ice Barrier in Antarctica. As part of his second expedition to the southernmost continent, he stayed alone at a remote weather station—named Bolling...
▪Part 2▪: Imagined Communities and the Scientific Management of Nature
Chapter Three: “A Strange and Terrible Woman Land”: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Scientific Utopia
While the exploration narratives of Frémont and Byrd produce a complex portrait of the individual within nature—a perspective through which we gain insight into the relations among masculinity, heroism, science, and the environment—the writings of Charlotte Perkins Gilman shift the discussion...
Chapter Four: “A Unit of Country Well Defined in Nature”: John Wesley Powell and the Scientific Management of the American West
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s fictional utopia illustrates the tension, on one hand, between an emerging ecological view of nature and the valuation of wilderness and, on the other, the ability of science and technology to control and even reshape the natural environment. This...
▪Part 3▪: Nature’s Identity and the Critique of Science
Chapter Five: “The Earth Is the Common Home of All”: Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Investigations of a Settled Landscape
From within the forests of central New York State in the mid-1800s, a land of expansive woodlands, rolling hills, quiet lakes, and small but growing communities, writer and naturalist Susan Fenimore Cooper published a book entitled Rural Hours (1850), which described the local environment and rural customs
Chapter Six: “The Relentless Drive of Life”: Rachel Carson’s and Loren Eiseley’s Reformulation of Science and Nature
Though Susan Fenimore Cooper witnessed significant changes to the landscape of her home county during the nineteenth century— the loss of old-growth forests, the decline in numbers of certain wildlife species, the increase in both cultivated land and human population— the genteel naturalist scarcely could have...
From the vantage point of 2001, as I sit writing at my desk at home in Chicago, nature seems to be more than ever a place of contested agendas and representations—at times a site of renewal and at others a place of continued exploitation. On one hand, within this sprawling, heavily industrialized urban region, nature is undergoing a revival...
Page Count: 228
Illustrations: 4 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2002
OCLC Number: 759159950
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Visions of the Land