Sight Unseen: How Fremont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape (Paperback)Andrew Menard (author)
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The first in-depth study of this remarkable report, Sight Unseen argues that Fremont used both a radical form of art and an imaginary map to create an aesthetic desire for expansion. He not only redefined the Great Desert as a novel and complex environment, but on a summit of the Wind River Range, he envisioned the Continental Divide as a feature that would unify rather than impede a larger nation.
In addition to provoking the great migration to Oregon and providing an aesthetic justification for the National Park system, Fremont's report profoundly altered American views of geography, progress, and the need for a transcontinental railroad. By helping to shape the very notion of Manifest Destiny, the report became one of the most important documents in the history of American landscape.
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
"[A] sharp and canny synthesis. . . . Most impressive in Sight Unseen is the meticulous way Menard makes his case that [Fremont's] imaginative transformation was a textual one."-Robert Thacker, Western American Literature -- Robert Thacker * Western American Literature *
"Through the imaginative eyes of Fremont, Menard makes significant strides in linking the words of the explorer and naturalist to the cultural concept that would shape the future land use and settlement of the American West."-Camden Burd, Historical Geography -- Camden Burd * Historical Geography *
"Crisply written, deliciously illustrated."-Ryan Boyd, Great Plains Quarterly -- Ryan Boyd * Great Plains Quarterly *
"Sight Unseen is a rigorously researched, exceptionally astute, and well-reasoned interdisciplinary study of a report that defined America's emerging ideology of progress. It is a splendid contribution to the historiography of both Fremont and nineteenth-Century America."Fred MacVaugh, Nebraska History * Nebraska History *
"[Sight Unseen is] a well-written work revealing an essential part of the history of the North American continent."-G.J. Martin, Choice -- G.J. Martin * Choice *
"Sight Unseen is a book for anyone who loves maps, landscape, and historical intricacy. . . . Anchored by the image of the explorer waving his nation's flag from a mountain peak, Menard's account of Fremont's expedition enlivens the rhetoric of a triumphal national narrative. Like the explorer's Report, Sight Unseen melds scientific, symbolic, and aesthetic views of a nation that knew no bounds."-Lucy R. Lippard, author of Down Country, winner of the Caroline Bancroft History Prize-- Lucy R. Lippard
"Eloquent, lively, and learned, with an intellectual breadth as wide as a Rocky Mountains horizon, Andrew Menard's Sight Unseen ably reconnoiters geographies of both imagination and terra firma. This fascinating book recovers the American West as John Fremont found it and shows us how the explorer taught us to see American landscapes-and America itself-anew."-Tom Chaffin, author of Pathfinder: John Charles Fremont and the Course of American Empire -- Tom Chaffin
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