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Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing Before Walden (Hardback)
  • Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing Before Walden (Hardback)

Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing Before Walden (Hardback)

Hardback 424 Pages / Published: 31/01/2004
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Reading the Roots is an anthology of outstanding early writings about American nature - a rich, influential, yet critically under-appreciated body of work. The selections describe a variety of landscapes, wildlife and natural phenomena.

Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820325477
Number of pages: 424
Weight: 748 g
Dimensions: 235 x 167 x 38 mm


Michael Branch has not only given us a new trailhead from which to explore a largely unknown territory in American nature writing; he has also mapped the landscape of a new area--early place-based literature--that American literary scholars will be exploring for many years to come. For both of those accomplishments, Branch is truly a trailblazer.

--Jim Warren "Professor of English, Washington and Lee University "

Reading the Roots presents a wide and representative selection of writings from the period that begins with Renaissance explorers and ends with New England transcendentalists. For a variety of reasons, this period has suffered critical and pedagogical neglect. Michael Branch's scholarship is not only sound and reliable, but timely and provocative as well.

--John Tallmadge "author of Meeting the Tree of Life: A Teacher's Path "

This is a major work of ecocriticism that will open up a new area of scholarship and catch the interest of many scholars and general readers beyond ecocritics. I found Reading the Roots to be full of surprises, works that I was unaware of and that I found quite intriguing. Even the well-known figures, like Emerson, are represented by lesser-known works that will seem like discoveries to readers.

--Ian Marshall "author of Peak Experiences: Walking Meditations on Literature, Nature, and Need "

The nicely crafted Reading the Roots . . . brings together an impressive selection of authors and gives an excellent overview of the geographies and genres covered by these writers . . . While reading these pieces, one cannot help but feel a profound sadness for the loss of the diverse creatures that once shared this fabulous land. Perhaps, however, as Branch hopes, encountering them in the pages of this anthology will encourage us to preserve those that remain.

--Agricultural History

Michael Branch has given us a new 'literary historical trailhead' with which to begin exploring American nature writing. . . . Reading the Roots is a compelling and transformative contribution to the genre known as nature writing.


Reading the Roots is a welcome anthology.

--Bloomsbury Review

What a marvelous collection! Every selection is intriguing: surprising, entertaining, evocative, and informative. And Mike Branch's introductions are just right. This is a major resource for students, teachers, anyone interested in how Americans have perceived our lands. Perhaps even better, it's also lots of fun to read.

--SueEllen Campbell "Colorado State University "

By this anthology, Branch brings a new perspective to American nature writing--so that Thoreau, with his literary plan to record his attachment to nature, becomes the exceptional nature writeer instead of the seminal one as he has been seen

--Midwest Book Review

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