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Reviews 375 Place for Ryden is about far more than the objective geographical facts ofa given topography. Aswith Olson’s study of Melville, place (so similar to Olson’s “SPACE”) is here seen as among the most formative and significant facts in American cultural experience. What he calls “invisible landscape”points to the constellation of stories, memories, feelings, and imaginative responses with which that topography is imbued, and without which that topography remains in many ways unknowable. The first chapter establishes Ryden’s premise for “invisible landscape” by examining the representation of place in Colonial cartography. Seventeenth century map-making is a decidedly imaginative and interpretive act for Ryden, illustrative not just of property lines, but of the “ecology, economic base, settlement history, [and] architectural tastes” of the day. The work of such cultural geographers as E. V. Walter and D. W. Meinig assists Ryden’s project of reading the cultural significance ofnarratives derived from a response to place. The crux of Mapping comes from Ryden’s attempt to discern the signifi­ cance of invisible landscape in the regional folkloric narratives he gathered in the Coeur d’Alene mining district of Northern Idaho, and in the nonfiction essay of place as practiced by such familiar lights as Thoreau, Berry Lopez, Ivan Doig, and Gretel Ehrlich. In the former chapter, “The Folklore of Place,”Ryden comes across as an adept and compassionate folklorist. In the latter, his discus­ sion of a kind of “peripatetic essay” and the connections he makes between walking, writing (that is, essaying), and mapping is perceptive, if not always original. By detecting and examining a dialectic between a given locale and the representation of that locale in folklore and literature, Ryden has added a significant voice to this growing field of criticism. The wide-ranging, interdisci­ plinary sweep of Mapping the Invisible Landscape corrals much of the most important research previously carried out in this area. As such, it sets a standard by which other studies of “Place”will invariably (and profitably) be measured. RALPH W. BLACK New York University Idaho Loners: Hermits, Solitaires, and Individualists. By Cort Conley. (Cambridge, Idaho: Backeddy Books, 1994. 322 pages, $19.95.) Cort Conley begins his chapter on Clydeus Dunbar, Wheelbarrow Annie, with this statement by MaryAdare: I DID NOT CHOOSE SOLITUDE. WHO WOULD? IT CAME ON ME LIKE A VOCATION, DEMANDING AN EFFORT THAT MARRIED MEN CAN’T PICTURE. The three women and nine men whom Conley exposes are shrouded in soli­ 376 WesternAmerican Literature tude of place or mind. Some came to Idaho specifically to be hermits, to isolate themselves from the entrapments of civilization: law and order, diet, domestic­ ity. Some, like Wheelbarrow Annie, found seclusion to be a great and good companion and wed it for better or for worse. Through research and byhaving a good ear for story, Conley captures these persons as legend and as character. His journalistic-styled essays tell the tales and refine the facts. He has recorded more than “Hermits, Solitaires, and Individualists.”He has fleshed out a time, an atmosphere, when the quirky, selfreliant person trusted that distance and seclusion go hand-in-hand. A notion much proved by Beaver Dick, Buckskin Bill, The Hermit ofImpassable Canyon, The Ridgerunner, and Dugout Dick. A notion unattested by the Wildhorse Cowgirl and Free Press Frances; yet, a notion too soon in its dotage for the Outback Outlaw, Claude Dallas, who murdered two Idaho Fish and Game Officers in 1981. For Dallas, the Wild West wasn’t over. At the heart of Idaho Loners is what every reader might expect and want: these strange and sometimes unruly individuals have left or are leaving their mark on Idaho and the imagination of Idahoans. There is an undercurrent throughout that suggests the familiaritywith which Idahoans relate their knowl­ edge of these peculiar folks who live, principally, in Idaho’s Outback. This is a book about characterand characters. Each coot conjured up is unique of mind and spirit: Cougar Dave, The Cove Recluse, even the good All-American former spy—The Poet. And to help the reader settle in and believe the truth, there are pictures and map. The pictures are specific, life-giving images of the...


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pp. 375-376
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