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110 Western American Literature Florida and northern Mexico into the old Southwest and the Pacific coast, explorers from the British and French colonies searching for a Northwest Passage and encountering fabulous rumors about strange peoples to the south, early encounters between Russian explorers and the native peoples of the Northwest territories. Here are what appear to be heroes and villains from numerous races (in contexts where it is often not at all clear which is which), relentless and often absurd violence and destruction, along with surprising glimpses of common humanity and wonder at the fabulous realities of the “new world.” Here, in a word, are the myriad themes on contemporary frontier litera­ ture surviving in these fragments from a rich early literary heritage too fre­ quently ignored in scholarship and classrooms. This imaginatively edited, attractively presented anthology should help reinvigorate exploration ofconti­ nuities between past, present, and future wilderness quests. DAVID MOGEN Colorado State University EdgeEffects: Notes on an OregonForest. By Chris Anderson. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993. 207 pages, $29.95/$9.95.) “Edge effect”is the author’s play on thejargon of forestry. The nub of the idea is that the land can actually be enhanced by logging—that is, by “sculpt­ ing”trees mosaic-like, to maximize the forest’s edge. It’s there on the “edge,” where wild things concentrate themselves, that Anderson found his control­ ling metaphor: his essays test the prospects of our living peacefully with the natural world. His verdict is, yes, we can have this peace. Forestry is the wayto it, or one of the ways, at least. If clear-cutting is antiquated, a more selective “scientific” harvest is not. What’s noteworthy is that Anderson comes to this position circuitously. One of his strong points is rhetorical: his chapters have the feel of a steady inductive march toward their conclusion. He begins on a note of righteous indignation: Saws are about to be loosed against the McDonald-Dunn Forest near his home in Corvallis. But his protests make him personally acquainted with the loggers, and therein lies the inevitable complication. The logger’s needs turn out to be not so different from his own. And then, when the cutting begins, is it the disaster he feared? Well, no, not in the historical nor economic nor spiritual contexts in which he finally frames his response. Throughout, there is a note of equanimity to these essays: the Earth abides; our lives are flux. In fact, a kind of Christian stewardship (with a Catholic flavor) is the culminating point, and it’s no contradiction in Anderson’s cosmos that stewardship should have forestry as its handmaid. In recent years it has nearly become commonplace to find in Christianity an apology for “subduing”nature. EdgeEffectsis something to read in counter­ point to that attack. And it’s a good read, too. It has a wealth of contemporary forestry ren­ dered in plain English. It honestly tries to encompass the ecological complex­ ity of using the forest. And it’s generous—almost too generous—in its estima­ tion of the egghead scientists and roughneck loggers with whom the author rubbed shoulders. RUSSELL BURROWS WeberState University Reviews 111 Wordsfrom a Wide Land. By William D. Barney. (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1993. 194 pages, $16.95.) The author’s foreword describes the book as a collection of observations containing “a little bit of everything.” Indeed, Wordsfrom a Wide Land is best classified bywhat is it not: it is neither ajournal, an almanac, a narrative, nor a collection of poems. It might, however, be regarded as a book of days. Orga­ nized chronologically by month, but not by year, the book contains 365 brief entries dating from 1936 to 1992. The tide suggests that Barney will reflect on a wide land, but rather than create a broad view, he offers snapshots of disparate scenes of the garden, neighborhood, and places of work and recreation. Those unfamiliar with Barney’swork mayfind it helpful to read the bookjacket and the foreword as a way of regionally situating the work. The relative paucity of descriptions about particular scenes, while consistent with notes written to one’s self, will...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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