Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic
Sweeping across scholarly disciplines, Back to Nature
shows that, from the moment of their conception, modern ecological
and epistemological anxieties were conjoined twins. Urbanization,
capitalism, Protestantism, colonialism, revived Skepticism,
empirical science, and optical technologies conspired to alienate
people from both the earth and reality itself in the seventeenth
century. Literary and visual arts explored the resulting cultural
wounds, expressing the pain and proposing some ingenious cures. The
stakes, Robert N. Watson demonstrates, were huge.
Shakespeare's comedies, Marvell's pastoral lyrics, Traherne's
visionary Centuries, and Dutch painting all illuminate a
fierce submerged debate about what love of nature has to do with
perception of reality.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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