Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the…

Paperback | October 15, 2004

byJohn Gatta

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Since colonial times, the sense of encountering an unseen, transcendental Presence within the natural world has been a characteristic motif in American literature and culture. American writers have repeatedly perceived in nature something beyond itself-and beyond themselves. In this book, JohnGatta argues that the religious import of American environmental literature has yet to be fully recognized or understood. Whatever their theology, American writers have perennially construed the nonhuman world to be a source, in Rachel Carson's words, of "something that takes us out of ourselves." Making Nature Sacred explores how the quest for "natural revelation" has been pursued through successive phases of American literary and intellectual history. And it shows how the imaginative challenge of "reading" landscapes has been influenced by biblical hermeneutics. Though focused onadaptations of Judeo-Christian religious traditions, it also samples Native American, African American, and Buddhist forms of ecospirituality. It begins with Colonial New England writers such Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards, re-examines pivotal figures such as Henry Thoreau and John Muir, andtakes account of writings by Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, and many others along the way. The book concludes with an assessment of the "spiritual renaissance" underway in current environmental writing, as represented by five noteworthy poets and by authors such as Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard,Marilynne Robinson, Peter Matthiessen, and Barry Lopez. This engaging study should appeal not only to students of literature, but also to those interested in ethics and environmental studies, religious studies, and American cultural history.

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Since colonial times, the sense of encountering an unseen, transcendental Presence within the natural world has been a characteristic motif in American literature and culture. American writers have repeatedly perceived in nature something beyond itself-and beyond themselves. In this book, JohnGatta argues that the religious import of A...

John Gatta is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture (OUP, 1997) and a variety of other publications concerning the interplay between religion and literature.

other books by John Gatta

Ecotheology in the Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Divine and Nature
Ecotheology in the Humanities: An Interdisciplinary App...

Kobo ebook|May 20 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.79 inPublished:October 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195165063

ISBN - 13:9780195165067

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"Required reading for anyone interested not only in ecocriticism but also in an interdisciplinary approach to Christian nature spirituality."--Laurie J. Braaten, Professor of Biblical Studies, Judson College