As the array of environmental crises worsened and as public awareness of them broadened during the past several decades, the culture has prepared for new kinds of writing about the world. “Nature writing,” most eco-critics believe, has become arguably the most vital literary movement in America in the late- twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, and its purpose is fundamentally subversive -- that is, it takes on the work of critiquing the culture’s predominately anthropocentric and exploitative relationship to the physical environment. In fact, the roots of American nature writing can be traced back to the natural history writings in early late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth America; however, only a few critics are aware that the manifestations of a less anthropocentric ethic and the idea of sustainability has already appeared in the natural history writings composed by early American natural historians. Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), one of these natural historians, is a pioneering figure in America’s nature writing tradition and plays a crucial but still largely unexamined part in American literature. In his lifetime, Nuttall composed many works of natural history, such as A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the Year 1819 (1821), A Manuel of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada (1832), and The North American Sylva (1857). In this paper, I shall closely analyze Nuttall’s works of natural history and examine the following questions: What is natural history writing? What is the relationship between Nuttall’s natural historical discourse and the issues of sustainability -- our ability to sustain natural resources? How does Nuttall introduce the sustainability issues and a humbler, less purely anthropocentric, somewhat more biocentric ethic to the American public? How do Nuttall’s representations of the relationship between human and nonhuman nature introduce a tradition of proto-ecological thinking into American environmental history?
|Keywords:||Natural History Writing, The Issues of Sustainability, Thomas Nuttall, A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the Year 1819, A Manuel of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada, The North American Sylva|
Associate Professor, The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Graduate Institute of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Huafan University, Xin Dian City, Taipei County, Taiwan
There are currently no reviews of this product.Write a Review