Nature Writing

Philip F. Gura

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Nature Writing

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This article focuses on the idea of nature writing as adapted by the Transcendentalists. Henry David Thoreau is considered as the exponent of nature writing in American Transcendentalism. This article traces what nature writing is, what constitutes Transcendentalist nature writing, and why one author can be more successful at it than another. For more than a century some literary critics have bravely, if not fully convincingly, addressed these issues. One of the first twentieth-century commentators to do so, Philip Marshal Hicks, offered, in 1924, a very strict definition of the genre of nature writing. This article refers to the works of Thoreau and Emerson in relation to the genre of nature writing. Thoreau's occasion was the publication of a series of scientific reports issued by the state of Massachusetts, but he opened this essay with a moving meditation on the restorative powers of nature rather than with a mention of the reports' practical value.

Keywords: writing; nature writing; Marshal Hicks; Thoreau; Emerson; transcendentalist nature writing; literary critics

Article.  9544 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers) ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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