Ecocriticism and Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: American Explorers And Naturalists - Essay

Paul Brooks (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brooks, Paul. “‘The Two Johns’: Burroughs and Muir.” In Speaking for Nature: How Literary Naturalists from Henry Thoreau to Rachel Carson Have Shaped America, pp. 3‐32. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980.

[In the following excerpt, Brooks explores the lives and writings of the naturalists John Muir and John Burroughs, claiming that the two men made Americans recognize the natural world as part of their culture by revealing poetic truth behind scientific facts.]

Vernal Equinox, 1911. Theodore Roosevelt, two years out of the White House, is in California delivering a lecture under the auspices of a scientific institute. Before reaching his main...

(The entire section is 10756 words.)

Michael Branch (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Branch, Michael. “Indexing American Possibilities: The Natural History Writing of Bartram, Wilson, and Audubon.” In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology, edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, pp. 282‐97. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

[In the following essay, Branch surveys the evolution of ideas about nature before the nineteenth century and goes on to discuss the contributions by three important nineteenth‐century American naturalists whose thematic concerns became central to subsequent environmental literature.]

During the half‐century between the publication of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of...

(The entire section is 8090 words.)

Chris Beyers (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Beyers, Chris. “The Ornithological Autobiography of John James Audubon.” In Reading the Earth: New Directions on the Study of Literature and Environment, edited by Michael P. Branch, Rochelle Johnson, Daniel Patterson, and Scott Slovic, pp. 119‐28. Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Beyers claims that John James Audubon's Ornithological Biography, which includes prose descriptions of the birds he illustrated, also offers a complex portrait of the artist himself.]

From 1827 to 1840 John James Audubon published The Birds of America, an audacious series of volumes that attempted to depict every bird native...

(The entire section is 3929 words.)

David Mazel (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Mazel, David. “Four Views of Yosemite.” In American Literary Environmentalism, pp. 93‐156. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000.

[In the following excerpt, Mazel examines Clarence King's Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada in order to explore the connections between early environmentalism, literary realism, and corporate capitalism.]

Clarence King, geologist and writer, founder of the United States Geological Survey and author of the best‐seller Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada (1872), arrived in California in 1863, the same year as Frederick Law Olmsted. King had gone west to join the newly formed California Geological Survey,...

(The entire section is 7922 words.)

Rick Van Noy (essay date 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Van Noy, Rick. “Surveying the Sublime: Literary Cartographers and the Spirit of Place.” In The Greening of Literary Scholarship: Literature, Theory, and the Environment, edited by Steven Rosendale, pp. 181‐204. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2002.

[In the following essay, Van Noy presents the work of three mappers—Henry David Thoreau, Clarence King, and John Wesley Powell—as representing various nineteenth‐century responses to the spirit of the western landscape.]

One of the curiosities of the literature of American surveying and mapping is its reliance on the sublime. Since the sublime is concerned with an aesthetic and emotional response and...

(The entire section is 11707 words.)