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Environmental Evasion
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summary
Brings ecocriticism into conversation with critical American studies approaches to literary canon formation. How do we reconcile the abstract reverence for the natural world central to American literary history, beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature,” with over a century and a half of widespread environmental destruction? Environmental Evasion examines the environmental implications of literary and cultural productions by writers from James Femimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Zora Neale Hurston. Lloyd Willis provocatively argues that the environmentalist outlooks by Cooper and Longfellow were eclipsed by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s abstract, imperialist vision of nature. He demonstrates how many 20th century American writers have taken the Emersonian approach, participating in a silent but extremely powerful form of evasive environmental politics in the ways in which they write about the natural world. Attentive to the inherent political dimensions of all texts, Environmental Evasion insists on the relevance of environmental history and politics to New Americanist approaches to the literary canon.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: American Literature and Environmental Politics
  2. pp. 1-18
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  1. Chapter 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and the Formation of American Literature’s Core Environmental Values
  2. pp. 19-36
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  1. Chapter 2. James Fenimore Cooper, American Canon Formation, and American Literature’s Erasure of Environmental Anxiety
  2. pp. 37-54
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  1. Chapter 3. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, United States National Literature, and the American Canon’s Erasure of Material Nature
  2. pp. 55-74
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  1. Chapter 4. Willa Cather and John Steinbeck, Environmental Schizophrenia, and Monstrous Ecology
  2. pp. 75-102
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  1. Chapter 5. Zora Neale Hurston, the Power of Harlem, and the Promise of Florida
  2. pp. 103-124
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  1. Afterword: Ernest Hemingway and American Literature’s Legacy of Environmental Disengagement
  2. pp. 125-134
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 135-166
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 167-184
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 185-189
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