In this Book

Thoreauvian Modernities
summary
Does Thoreau belong to the past or to the future? Instead of canonizing him as a celebrant of “pure” nature apart from the corruption of civilization, the essays in Thoreauvian Modernities reveal edgier facets of his work—how Thoreau is able to unsettle as well as inspire and how he is able to focus on both the timeless and the timely. Contributors from the United States and Europe explore Thoreau’s modernity and give a much-needed reassessment of his work in a global context.

The first of three sections, “Thoreau and (Non)Modernity,” views Thoreau as a social thinker who set himself against the “modern” currents of his day even while contributing to the emergence of a new era. By questioning the place of humans in the social, economic, natural, and metaphysical order, he ushered in a rethinking of humanity’s role in the natural world that nurtured the environmental movement. The second section, “Thoreau and Philosophy,” examines Thoreau’s writings in light of the philosophy of his time as well as current philosophical debates. Section three, “Thoreau, Language, and the Wild,” centers on his relationship to wild nature in its philosophical, scientific, linguistic, and literary dimensions. Together, these sixteen essays reveal Thoreau’s relevance to a number of fields, including science, philosophy, aesthetics, environmental ethics, political science, and animal studies.

Thoreauvian Modernities posits that it is the germinating power of Thoreau’s thought—the challenge it poses to our own thinking and its capacity to address pressing issues in a new way—that defines his enduring relevance and his modernity.

Contributors: Kristen Case, Randall Conrad, David Dowling, Michel Granger, Michel Imbert, Michael Jonik, Christian Maul, Bruno Monfort, Henrik Otterberg, Tom Pughe, David M. Robinson, William Rossi, Dieter Schulz, François Specq, Joseph Urbas, Laura Dassow Walls.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vii
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-11
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-13
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  1. List of Abbreviations
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Introduction: The Manifold Modernity of Henry D. Thoreau
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. PART ONE: THOREAU AND (NON)MODERNITY
  2. pp. 19-37
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  1. Walking West, Gazing East: Planetarity on the Shores of Cape Cod
  2. pp. 21-42
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  1. Antimodern Thoreau
  2. pp. 43-55
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  1. Thoreau’s Multiple Modernities
  2. pp. 56-68
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  1. Thoreau, Modernity, and Nature’s Seasons
  2. pp. 69-81
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  1. An Infinite Road to the Golden Age: A Close Reading of Thoreau’s “Road—that old Carlisle one” in the Late Journal (24 September 1859)
  2. pp. 82-101
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  1. PART TWO: THOREAU AND PHILOSOPHY
  2. pp. 103-121
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  1. “Being Is the Great Explainer”: Thoreau and the Ontological Turn in American Thought
  2. pp. 105-125
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  1. Character and Nature: Toward an Aristotelian Understanding of Thoreau’s Literary Portraits and Environmental Poetics
  2. pp. 126-136
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  1. Thoreau’s Work on Myth: The Modern and the Primitive
  2. pp. 137-156
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  1. “A Sort of Hybrid Product”: Thoreau’s Individualism between Liberalism and Communitarianism
  2. pp. 157-170
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  1. PART THREE: THOREAU, LANGUAGE, AND THE WILD
  2. pp. 171-189
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  1. Nature, Knowledge, and the Method of Thoreau’s Excursions
  2. pp. 173-186
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  1. Thoreau’s Radical Empiricism: The Kalendar, Pragmatism, and Science
  2. pp. 187-199
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  1. “The Maze of Phenomena”: Perception and Particular Knowledge in Thoreau’s Journal
  2. pp. 200-218
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  1. Poetics of Thoreau’s Journal and Postmodern Aesthetics
  2. pp. 219-233
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  1. Fraught Ecstasy: Contemporary Encounters with Thoreau’s Postpristine Nature
  2. pp. 234-248
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  1. Brute Neighbors: The Modernity of a Metaphor
  2. pp. 249-264
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  1. “Tawny Grammar”: Words in the Wild
  2. pp. 265-273
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 275-291
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 293-296
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 297-310
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