A Terrible Beauty
The Wilderness of American Literature
Shortly before he published Walden, Henry David Thoreau called "The library a wilderness of books." He also noted that while Americans were "clearing the forest in our westward progress, we are accumulating a forest of books in our rear, as wild and unexplored as any of nature's primitive wildernesses." In this book, Raskin takes a long close look at the forest of books that poets, novelists and essayists mapped and explored before and after Thoreau.
In this first work of cultural criticism to look back at writing in the United States from the perspective of the contemporary environmental crisis, Raskin offers insights for students, teachers and lovers of literature as well as for backpackers and hikers who have trekked across untrammeled forests, deserts and mountains.
"Jonah Raskin reminds us that it is still possible to say something new and important about American literature. His journey from the early explorers to modern novelists is both a first-rate exploration of the wilderness theme and, given that theme's centrality to our literary traditions, a striking account of American writing itself."
–– Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University
"The contrasts you develop between men and women writers are startling. You remind us that the constructs of European-American men are not the whole of American culture, however central and universal these writers may like to think they are. I appreciated the fact that you follow writers who include indigenous people in their construction of 'wilderness.' And I liked that you mention African American writers."
–– Julie Allen, Professor Emerita, Sonoma State University
"Into the wild we go in A Terrible Beauty as Jonah Raskin explores American writers from Henry David Thoreau to F. Scott Fitzgerald, demonstrating the formative omnipresence of wilderness in American literature and thought. We need a cultural dimension to the environmentalist proposition of 'rewilding,' a rewilding of our minds and hearts, and here Raskin points the way, learnedly but unpretentiously. Take a walk on the wild side!"
–– Christopher Phelps, Associate Professor of American Studies, University of Nottingham
2014, 370 pages, 5" x 9", full-color cover, bibliography, index.
Published by Regent Press.
ISBN 978-1-58790-278-9 trade paper
Preface: Ah, Wilderness
Explorers & Colonists: Sebastian Cabot, Henry Hudson, Robert Juet & William Bradford
Puritans: Roger Williams, Mary Rowlandson, Cotton Mather & William Faulkner
Revolutionaries: Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, J. Hector Crevecoueur, Philip Freneau & Washington Irving
Continentals: Meriwether Lewis, William Clark & Sacagawea
Pioneers: James Fenimore Cooper's Wild Literary Ride
Pale Faces & Redskins: Robert Byrd, Catharine Sedgewick & Lydia Maria Child
Margaret Fuller & Henry David Thoreau
Allegorical: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville & John Muir
Coquette: Emily Dickinson
Satirical: Mark Twain
Twentieth Century & Beyond: Jack London, Mary Austin, Willa Cather & F. Scott Fitzgerald
Free Shipping Special
From now to February 25, get free standard shipping on any order over $19
The only exceptions are the rolled Bluewater maps and the rolled Imus maps; the $6 minimum shipping still applies to them, but up to 3 Bluewater Maps ship for the same $6 cost as one, and up to 2 rolled Imus maps are also only $6.
Buy more, save more!
Orders over $40 now get 10% off! Orders over $75 get a whopping 20% off!!
Save now on hundreds of excellent books and maps! Start planning next Summer's adventures.
Books and Maps on Related Topics:
Field Guide to Manzanitas: California, North America, and Mexico by Michael Kauffmann, Tom Parker and Michael Vasey; Photographs by Jeff Bisbee
Articulate Earth; Adventures in Ecocriticism by David Rains Wallace
Conifers of the Pacific Slope by Michael Kauffmann
Take Me to the Tide Pools: An Interactive Guide for Learning about Tide Pool Animals by Text and Photography by David Casterson
Illustrations by Anoosh Moutafian
Walking in Beauty; Growing Up with the Yurok Indians by Harry K. Roberts
Tracks, Scats and Signs of Central and Northern California Wildlife by Text & Photos by James C. Halfpenny
The Bay Area Forager; Your Guide to Edible wild Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area by Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein
Under the Table Books by Todd Walton
Gold Fever: San Francisco 1851 by Ken Salter
The Spirit of the River by Diane McCarthy
On the Road with Mark Twain in California and Nevada by George J. Williams III
The Last Great Auk by Allan W. Eckert
Mark Twain and the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by George J. Williams III
Mark Twain: His Life in Virginia City, Nevada by George J. Williams III
The Hiker’s hip pocket Guide to the Humboldt/Del Norte Coast, 3rd Ed. by Bob Lorentzen
Trails of Mt. Tamalpais, Muir Woods and Marin Headlands by Ben Pease
Big Sur Coast Map, Coastal California Series by Bluewater Maps
In the Company of Redwoods; An Interactive Guide to Learning 50 Redwood Community Plants through Hand Tinting by Text and Photography by David Casterson