Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europes Encounter with the…

Paperback | March 1, 2000

byStephen J. Pyne

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Stephen Pyne has been described as having a consciousness "composed of equal parts historian, ecologist, philosopher, critic, poet, and sociologist." At this time in history when many people are trying to understand their true relationship with the natural environment, this book offers a remarkable contribution--breathtaking in the scope of its research and exhilarating to read.

Pyne takes the reader on a journey through time, exploring the terrain of Europe and the uses and abuses of its lands as well as, through migration and conquest, many parts of the rest of the world. Whether he is discussing the Mediterranean region, Russia, Scandinavia, the British Isles, central Europe, or colonized islands; whether he is considering the impact of agriculture, forestry, or Enlightenment thinking, the author brings an unmatched insight to his subject.

Vestal Fire takes its title from Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth and keeper of the sacred fire on Mount Olympus. But the book's title also suggests the strengths and limitations of Europe's peculiar conception of fire, and through fire, of its relationship to nature. Between the untamed fire of the wilderness and the tended fire of the hearth lies a never-ending dialectic in which human beings struggle to control natural forces and processes that in fact can sometimes be directed but never wholly dominated or contained.

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From Our Editors

Fire has been critical to both environmental and cultural history, a vital part of wilderness and civilization. Stephen Pyne provides a compelling and comprehensive history of Western ideas, practice and response to fire through thousands of years. A brilliant, innovative, striking environmental history, Vestal Fire: An Environment...

From the Publisher

Stephen Pyne has been described as having a consciousness "composed of equal parts historian, ecologist, philosopher, critic, poet, and sociologist." At this time in history when many people are trying to understand their true relationship with the natural environment, this book offers a remarkable contribution--breathtaking in the sco...

Stephen J. Pyne is professor of history at Arizona State University. He is the author of nine other books, including Fire on the Rim: A Firefighter's Season at the Grand Canyon.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:672 pages, 1 × 1 × 1.59 inPublished:March 1, 2000Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295979488

ISBN - 13:9780295979489

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by William Cronon Author’s Notes Prologue: Quest for Fire

Book 1: ElementsFlame Diamond in the Rough: A Physical Geography of European Fire New Worlds from Old: A Biogeography of European Fire Fusain and Flame: A Natural History of European Fire Torch Errant Fire: The Hominid Colonization of Europe Cultivated Fire: The Agricultural Reclamation of Europe Pyrotechnia: The Technology of Combustion Hearth Domiciled Fire: Hearth and House The Fire in the Cave: Combustion and Cognition Need-Fire, Vestal Fire: Ceremony and Ritual

Book 2: Europe Eternal Flame: Fire in Mediterranean Europe Prologue: West of Eden Behold, Before a Garden, Behind a Waste Arcadia and Anarchy: Mediterranean Pastorale Grand Traverse: Imperial France Mediterranean Miniature: Cyprus Epilogue: Fin-de Siecle FireControlled Combustion: Fire in Central Europe Prologue: Ashes and Embers Landnam: The Fire of First Contact Reclamation: The Fire in the Garden Revolution: The Enlightenment Comes to Agriculture Revolution Redux: Forestry Takes Command Epilogue: Holocaust Wild Hearth: Fire in Boreal Europe Prologue: Fire and Water Fire and Sword: The Historia of Olaus Magnus Fire and Ax: The Finnish Colonization Fire and Field: The Travels of Linnaeus Fire and Iron: The Adventures of Nils Epilogue: Final Flame Flaming Front: Fire in Eurasian Europe Prologue: Wooden Rus' Is like a Fire The Candle and the TorchLines of Fire, Fields of Fire Emancipation and SuppressionWhen the Sky Burned Epilogue: Fire in the Minds of MenSpot Fires: Fire in Atlantic Europe Prologue: Sparks in the Wind It Was All a Planted Garden: The British Isles Green Fire: The Celtic Isle Northern Mists, Northern Smoke: The Norse Islands Blessed Isles, Burned Isles: The Iberian Islands Epilogue: The World Encompassed

Book 3: Earth Islands New Fire: The Coming of Antropogenic Fire Strange Fire: The Coming of European FireSacred Fire: The Coming of Conservation Continents Carrying the Fire: Europe Expands Counter Fire: Europe Contains Fire in the Ashes: Europe Rekindles Planets Conduction: The European Connection Radiation: The Neo-Europes Convection: Black Death, Heat DeathEpilogue: Beyond the Realm of Fire Notes Glossary Bibliography Index

From Our Editors

Fire has been critical to both environmental and cultural history, a vital part of wilderness and civilization. Stephen Pyne provides a compelling and comprehensive history of Western ideas, practice and response to fire through thousands of years. A brilliant, innovative, striking environmental history, Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europe’s Encounter with the World blends humanity, culture and society with nature and the environment with engrossing results.

Editorial Reviews

Stephen Pyne has been described as having a consciousness "composed of equal parts historian, ecologist, philosopher, critic, poet, and sociologist." At this time in history when many people are trying to understand their true relationship with the natural environment, this book offers a remarkable contribution--breathtaking in the scope of its research and exhilarating to read.Pyne takes the reader on a journey through time, exploring the terrain of Europe and the uses and abuses of its lands as well as, through migration and conquest, many parts of the rest of the world. Whether he is discussing the Mediterranean region, Russia, Scandinavia, the British Isles, central Europe, or colonized islands; whether he is considering the impact of agriculture, forestry, or Enlightenment thinking, the author brings an unmatched insight to his subject. Vestal Fire takes its title from Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth and keeper of the sacred fire on Mount Olympus. But the book's title also suggests the strengths and limitations of Europe's peculiar conception of fire, and through fire, of its relationship to nature. Between the untamed fire of the wilderness and the tended fire of the hearth lies a never-ending dialectic in which human beings struggle to control natural forces and processes that in fact can sometimes be directed but never wholly dominated or contained.Stephen Pyne’s Vestal Fire is an astounding tour de force, even by this writer’s demandingly high standards: nothing less than a total history of the western conception, practice, and response to fire through (at least) three millennia. - Simon Schama, author of Landscape and Memory