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Making Nature Sacred : Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present - John Gatta

Making Nature Sacred

Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present

Paperback Published: 1st November 2004
ISBN: 9780195165067
Number Of Pages: 304

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Since colonial times, the sense of encountering an unseen, transcendental Presence within the natural world has been a characteristic motif in American literature and culture. American writers have repeatedly perceived in nature something beyond itself-and beyond themselves. In this book, John Gatta argues that the religious import of American environmental literature has yet to be fully recognized or understood. Whatever their theology, American writers have perennially construed the nonhuman world to be a source, in Rachel Carson's words, of "something that takes us out of ourselves."
Making Nature Sacred explores how the quest for "natural revelation" has been pursued through successive phases of American literary and intellectual history. And it shows how the imaginative challenge of "reading" landscapes has been influenced by biblical hermeneutics. Though focused on adaptations of Judeo-Christian religious traditions, it also samples Native American, African American, and Buddhist forms of ecospirituality. It begins with Colonial New England writers such Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards, re-examines pivotal figures such as Henry Thoreau and John Muir, and takes account of writings by Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, and many others along the way. The book concludes with an assessment of the "spiritual renaissance" underway in current environmental writing, as represented by five noteworthy poets and by authors such as Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robinson, Peter Matthiessen, and Barry Lopez.
This engaging study should appeal not only to students of literature, but also to those interested in ethics and environmental studies, religious studies, and American cultural history.

"This is a subtle, learned, and complex book that makes important contributions to ecocriticism and to the ongoing discussion of the persistence of responses to the natural world that it makes sense to characterize as religious." --Christianity and Literature "The distinctive contribution Gatta makes is to add to the growing genre of ecocriticism a volume sensitive to the spiritual dimensions of nature-oriented literature. This work was not available when I first taught on spirituality and nature-oriented literature. It would have been very helpful and I intend to use it in the future."--Spiritus "Gatta offers spiritual and imaginative hope for an age set on despair."--CHOICE "Required reading for anyone interested not only in ecocriticism but also in an interdisciplinary approach to Christian nature spirituality."--Laurie J. Braaten, Professor of Biblical Studies, Judson College "Gatta's ambitious work lushly draws the reader into Nature as the setting out of which the United States of America emerged.... [W]e commend Gatta's accomplishment." --Consciousness, Literature and the Arts "This is a subtle, learned, and complex book that makes important contributions to ecocriticism and to the ongoing discussion of the persistence of responses to the natural world that it makes sense to characterize as religious." --Christianity and Literature "Gatta's ambitious work lushly draws the reader into Nature as the setting out of which the United States of America emerged.... [W]e commend Gatta's accomplishment." --Consciousness, Literature and the Arts Gatta offers spiritual and imaginative hope for an age set on despair."--CHOICE "Required reading for anyone interested not only in ecocriticism but also in an interdisciplinary approach to Christian nature spirituality."--Laurie J. Braaten, Professor of Biblical Studies, Judson College

Landfall : the new world as new creationp. 15
Meditating on the creatures in early American life and lettersp. 35
Intimations of an environmental ethic in the writings of Jonathan Edwardsp. 55
"Revelation of US" : green shoots of romantic religion in antebellum Americap. 71
Variations on nature : from the old manse to the white whalep. 101
"Rare and delectable places" : Thoreau's imagination of sacred space at Waldenp. 127
Post-Darwinian visions of divine creationp. 143
Imagined worlds : the lure of numinous exoticismp. 175
Reclaiming the sacred commonsp. 199
Learning to love creation : the religious tenor of contemporary ecopoetryp. 225
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195165067
ISBN-10: 0195165063
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st November 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.43