Document Type

Article

Abstract

With the rise of ecocriticism, many recent studies of Thoreau’s writings have favorably reconsidered the author’s strong relationship with science; this trend received much of its impetus from Laura Dassow Walls’s Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century NaturalScience (Madison, WI, 1995). Similarly subtitled, Walden’s Shore begins by explaining that such scholarship still lacks an engagement with hard science and that a solid understanding of Thoreau’s work, and especially of Walden (1854), requires more intimate knowledge of geological phenomena. Robert Thorson is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut whose last book, Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds (New York, 2009), was a general account of small lakes in the Midwest and Northeast; he now restricts his view to Walden’s immediate environs in order to establish Thoreau’s reputation as a ‘‘pioneering geoscientist’’ (16). While countless books and articles have promoted Thoreau’s love of nature, this ‘‘nature’’ is often characterized as organic: flowers, trees, birds, fish, etc. Many overlook the fact that Thoreau, as Thorson insists, was just as strongly attuned to the inorganic: minerals, mountains, rivers, and lakes.

Disciplines

English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America

Permissions

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.


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