Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind

Two weeks without a book purchased or read? Really? Sadly, dear reader, yes - it's been that kind of time around here lately.

Mind you, the whole time I've been plugging cheerfully away at Roderick Nash's classic work of intellectual history Wilderness and the American Mind. I've dug through it a few times before, the classic process for an academic, but I don't recall reading it right through.

Certainly there's been plenty of terrific work done since the book's revised edition of the early '70s, even with its (albeit fairly tentative) suggestions about the counterculture that had arisen in the late '60s, and for a contemporary reader Nash has FAR too little to say about First Nations on this continent. But still, these weaknesses just mark the book as the product of a time we're working hard to outgrow. Not there yet, not by a long way, but Nash is visible behind the wonderful books of Lawrence Buell, Dan Philippon, Rochelle Johnson, and so many others of my intellectual heroes. (And very good folks, too, I can say from recent experience!)

I think I'd absorbed almost all of the book's lessons before I spent the dribbles of time I found for it over the last few weeks, and I think I make many of its enduring points already in class, but that's OK. It remains well worth your time, and I certainly found it worth my own precious time.

Now, back to the regular semester's programming....


SSP said…
best class I ever took was with Rod Nash at UCSB...wilderness and man - made me want to join the monkey wrench game 25 years ago!!
richard said…
Well, colour me jealous! I bet he would have had that effect on students.

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