Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)

Dark Eden: The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)

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David Miller
Cambridge University Press, 10/18/1990
EAN 9780521375535, ISBN10: 0521375533

Hardcover, 350 pages, 25.4 x 17.8 x 2.1 cm
Language: English

An important though little understood aspect of the response of nineteenth-century Americans to nature is the widespread interest in the scenery of swamps, jungles, and other wastelands. Dark Eden focuses on this developing interest in order to redefine cultural values during a transformative period of American history. Professor Miller shows how for many Americans in the period around the Civil War nature came to be regarded less as a source of high moral insight and more as a sanctuary from an ever more urbanised and technological environment. In the swamps and jungles of the South a whole range of writers and artists found a set of strange and exotic images by which to explore changing social realities of the times and the deep-seated personal pressures that accompanied them.

List of Illustrations
Part I. The Matrix of Transformation
1. To the lake of the dismal swamp
Porte Crayon's inward journey
2. The elusive Eden
the mid-Victorian response to the swamp
3. Mid-Victorian cultural values and the amoral landscape
the swamp image in the work of William Gilmore Simms and Harriet Beecher Stowe
Part II. The Phenomenology of Disintegration
4. Frederic Church in the tropics
5. The penetration of the jungle
6. American nature writing in the mid-Victorian period
from pilgrimage to quest
7. A loss of vision
the cultural inheritance
8. A loss of vision
the challenge of the image
9. Infection and imagination
the swamp and the atmospheric analogy
Part III. The Circuit of Death and Regeneration
10. Immersion and regeneration
Emerson and Thoreau
8. The identification with desert places
Martin Johnson Heade and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
12. Religion, science, and nature
Sidney Lanier and Lafcadio Hearn
Katherine Anne Porter's Jungle and the Modernist idiom
Selected Bibliography