Forests: The Shadow of Civilization

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University of Chicago Press, May 8, 2009 - Nature - 304 pages
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In this wide-ranging exploration of the role of forests in Western thought, Robert Pogue Harrison enriches our understanding not only of the forest's place in the cultural imagination of the West, but also of the ecological dilemmas that now confront us so urgently. Consistently insightful and beautifully written, this work is especially compelling at a time when the forest, as a source of wonder, respect, and meaning, disappears daily from the earth.

"Forests is one of the most remarkable essays on the human place in nature I have ever read, and belongs on the small shelf that includes Raymond Williams' masterpiece, The Country and the City. Elegantly conceived, beautifully written, and powerfully argued, [Forests] is a model of scholarship at its passionate best. No one who cares about cultural history, about the human place in nature, or about the future of our earthly home, should miss it.—William Cronon, Yale Review

"Forests is, among other things, a work of scholarship, and one of immense value . . . one that we have needed. It can be read and reread, added to and commented on for some time to come."—John Haines, The New York Times Book Review
 

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Contents

Ch 1 First the Forests
1
Ch 2 Shadows of Law
61
Ch 3 Enlightenment
107
Ch 4 Forests of Nostalgia
155
Ch 5 Dwelling
197
The Ecology of Finitude
245
Notes and Bibliography
251
Works Cited
267
Index
277
Illustration Credits
288
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About the author (2009)

Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and chairs the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. He is the author of The Body of Beatrice, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, The Dominion of the Dead, Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, and Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age, the latter three published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also host of the radio program Entitled Opinions on Stanford's station KZSU 90.1.

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