Scott Nearing


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(1883–1983), economist, environmentalist. Removed from a tenured professorship at the University of Pennsylvania for his radical political and economic views in 1915, Nearing, a native of Pennsylvania, was also fired by the University of Toledo for his radical pacifist statements when the U.S. entered World War I. For a time a communist, he was expelled from the party as a deviationist from the Lenin line. Nearing and his wife Helen decided in 1932 they would live outside the money economy as much as possible. They bought cheap land in Vermont, built a stone house, and grew their vegetarian and fruit diet–without electricity. They found they could live comfortably by working mornings only and devoting afternoons to reading, writing, crafts, or music. They described their life in Living the Good Life (1954), which became one of the testamentary documents of the 1960s counterculture. The Nearings collaborated on The Maple Sugar Book: Together with Remarks on Pioneering as a Way of Living in the Twentieth Century (1950). Nearing's last book was The Making of a Radical: A Political Autobiography (1972).

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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