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Dark Eden
The Swamp in Nineteenth-Century American Culture

Part of Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521147460


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About the Authors
  • An important though little understood aspect of the response of nineteenth-century Americans to nature is the widespread interest in the scenery of swamps, jungles, and other wastelands. Dark Eden focuses on this developing interest in order to redefine cultural values during a transformative period of American history. Professor Miller shows how for many Americans in the period around the Civil War nature came to be regarded less as a source of high moral insight and more as a sanctuary from an ever more urbanised and technological environment. In the swamps and jungles of the South a whole range of writers and artists found a set of strange and exotic images by which to explore changing social realities of the times and the deep-seated personal pressures that accompanied them.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521147460
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations
    Part I. The Matrix of Transformation:
    1. To the lake of the dismal swamp: Porte Crayon's inward journey
    2. The elusive Eden: the mid-Victorian response to the swamp
    3. Mid-Victorian cultural values and the amoral landscape: the swamp image in the work of William Gilmore Simms and Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Part II. The Phenomenology of Disintegration:
    4. Frederic Church in the tropics
    5. The penetration of the jungle
    6. American nature writing in the mid-Victorian period: from pilgrimage to quest
    7. A loss of vision: the cultural inheritance
    8. A loss of vision: the challenge of the image
    9. Infection and imagination: the swamp and the atmospheric analogy
    Part III. The Circuit of Death and Regeneration:
    10. Immersion and regeneration: Emerson and Thoreau
    8. The identification with desert places: Martin Johnson Heade and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman
    12. Religion, science, and nature: Sidney Lanier and Lafcadio Hearn
    Conclusion: Katherine Anne Porter's Jungle and the Modernist idiom
    Selected Bibliography

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    Dark Eden

    David Miller

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    David Miller

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