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The Nature of Generosityby William Kittredge
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as one of our finest writers about the American West, William Kittredge now brings all his experience and intelligence to bear on the wider, and wilder, West of our civilization. In certain respects, The Nature of Generosity continues the story of Hole in the Sky, the acclaimed memoir of Kittredge's early life on his family's vast ranch in Oregon; but it also ranges freely, and exhilaratingly, around the world and through recorded time.
A travel book of sorts--from New York and Venice to the Andalusian hills of Garcíiacute;a Lorca, from the cow towns of Montana to the caves at Lascaux--it is driven by the quest to reconcile childhood simplicities with the complex, urgent, adult questions about who to be, and how, and why. Drawing on our various histories--biological, cultural, psychological--Kittredge celebrates diversity as the cornerstone of our social possibilities, examines the freedom and responsibility this entails, and suggests that our culture's habitually selfish, combative behavior is far from being in our best interests--or, indeed, in our nature.
Less geographical than philosophical, at once learned and curious, observant and personal, The Nature of Generosity is a revolutionary, and practical, magnum opus.
From the Hardcover edition.
The author's lifelong attempt to reconcile the simple pleasures of childhood with the complex realities of adult life is chronicled here in the form of a travelogue that takes readers from the glittering streets of New York to the dank bowls of the Lascaux in France. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.
The Nature of Generosity is at once a natural sequel to the acclaimed memoir Hole in the Sky and an entirely unique masterwork from one of the finest writers of the American West.
Taking as his topic the "ordinary yearning to take physical and emotional care," William Kittredge embarks upon a literary and philosophical grand tour that explores the very core of who we are. Whether he's recalling a childhood in Oregon, touring Europe, or studying photographs of Japanese gardens in a bookstore in New York City, Kittredge's connections are as unexpected as they are inspiring. Shattering the myth that survival of the fittest means "survival of the violent, or the cruelest, or the selfish," Kittredge imagines a world in which altruism dominates--and offers ample evidence that this is not an unreachable utopian ideal.
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