Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women's Environmental Writing, 1781-1924
Publication Year: 2013
Fallen Forests contributes to scholarship in American women's writing, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and feminist rhetoric, expanding the literary, historical, and theoretical grounds for some of today's most pressing environmental debates. Karen L. Kilcup rejects prior critical emphases on sentimentalism to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers' consciousness about social and environmental issues. She also critiques ecocriticism's idealizing tendency, which has elided women's complicity in agendas that depart from today's environmental orthodoxies.
Unlike previous ecocritical works, Fallen Forests includes marginalized texts by African American, Native American, Mexican American, working-class, and non-Protestant women. Kilcup also enlarges ecocriticism's genre foundations, showing how Cherokee oratory, travel writing, slave narrative, diary, polemic, sketches, novels, poetry, and exposé intervene in important environmental debates.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes
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List of Illustrations
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Grounding the Texts: An Introduction
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When winter breaks, we harvest sap for maple syrup; in the spring, set strawberries and onions. Come fall, we fill his battered Chevy station wagon so full with squash and pumpkins that I have to lie spread-eagled across the tailgate as we creep across the street to where we’ll heap our treasure for sorting in the back yard: golden butternuts, crenellated acorns...
1. “We planted, tended, and harvested our corn”: Native Mothers, Resource Wars, and Conversion Narratives
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With its spacious meadows and clear water, the New World was a place worth fighting over. Seeking peaceful interactions between Cherokees and Euramericans, the pointed and affecting letter by the unnamed “Katteuha,” or Beloved Woman, to Benjamin Franklin reveals the material and gendered ground on which interethnic resource conflicts were...
2. “Such Progress in Civilization”: Forest Life and Mushroom Growth, East, West, and South
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in scenes in my native land, Lydia Sigourney observes, “The wild elephant, when death approaches, moves slowly to seek the shadow of lofty trees, and there resigns his breath. Intelligent man, like the most sagacious of animals, might surely spare a few, as a shelter for his weary head, and a patrimony for an unborn race.”1 Like many of her contemporaries, she...
3. Golden Hands: Weaving America
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Describing incursions that “low whites” made into blacks’ homes after Nat Turner’s insurrection, Harriet Jacobs recounts the physical tortures that the African American community endured. Her grandmother received a visit from one such “pack of hungry wolves,” who “snatched at every thing within their reach.” Mob members were particularly incensed by letters...
4. Gilt-Edged or “Beautifully Unadorned”: Fashioning Feelings
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Merchants of voluntary simplicity and simple living barrage us today, as books, magazines, and Internet sites promote a return to “earlier values.” My own history as the daughter of a Depression-era mother who, more than fifty years later, could relate (with dismay and shame, but also with pride) having to make her own clothes from others’ old garments, resonated...
5. Domestic and National Moralities: Justice in the West
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in late 1888 and early 1889, the writer and artist Mary Hallock Foote published “Pictures of the Far West” in the elite eastern monthly Century Magazine, offering snapshots of the “new” country and illuminating its “wild” character. Quoted above, the first of three sketches, “Looking for Camp,” establishes nature’s self-sufficiency; the land provides bounty...
After Words: Toward Common Ground
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Published in the May 1861 Atlantic Monthly, Harriet Prescott Spofford’s erotic fantasy, which depicts a seamstress contemplating the pomegranate bloom on her windowsill, needs little interpretation. Even in the mid-nineteenth century, a few American women found ways to explore— ...
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Page Count: 512
Illustrations: 25 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2013