Synopses & Reviews
In this wide-ranging exploration of the role of forests in Western thought, Robert Pogue Harrison enriches our understanding not only of the forest's place in the cultural imagination of the West, but also of the ecological dilemmas that now confront us so urgently. Consistently insightful and beautifully written, this work is especially compelling at a time when the forest, as a source of wonder, respect, and meaning, disappears daily from the earth.
"Forests is one of the most remarkable essays on the human place in nature I have ever read, and belongs on the small shelf that includes Raymond Williams' masterpiece, The Country and the City. Elegantly conceived, beautifully written, and powerfully argued, [Forests] is a model of scholarship at its passionate best. No one who cares about cultural history, about the human place in nature, or about the future of our earthly home, should miss it.and#8212;William Cronon, Yale Review
"Forests is, among other things, a work of scholarship, and one of immense value . . . one that we have needed. It can be read and reread, added to and commented on for some time to come."and#8212;John Haines, The New York Times Book Review
Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-276) and index.
About the Author
Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and chairs the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. He is the author of The Body of Beatrice, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, The Dominion of the Dead, Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, and Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age, the latter three published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also host of the radio program Entitled Opinions on Stanford's station KZSU 90.1.
Table of Contents
First the forest: Vico's giants -- The demon of Gilgamesh -- The virgin goddess -- Dionysos -- The sorrows of Rhea Silvia -- From mythic origins to deforestation; Shadows of law: The knight's adventure -- Forest law -- Outlaws -- Dante's line of error -- Shadows of love -- The human age -- Macbeth's conclusion; Enlightenment: The ways of method -- What is enlightenment? a question for foresters -- Rousseau -- Conrad's brooding gloom -- Roquentin's nightmare -- Wastelands; Forests of nostalgia: Forest and world in Wordsworth's poem -- The Brothers Grimm - Forests of symbols -- Waiting for Dionysos; Dwelling: The elm tree -- London versus Epping Forest -- The woods of Walden -- Fallingwater -- Andrea Zanzotto; Epilogue: the ecology of finitude.