Does Thoreau belong to the past or to the future? Instead of
canonizing him as a celebrant of "pure" nature apart from the
corruption of civilization, the essays in Thoreauvian
Modernities reveal edgier facets of his work-how Thoreau is
able to unsettle as well as inspire and how he is able to focus on
both the timeless and the timely. Contributors from the United
States and Europe explore Thoreau's modernity and give a
much-needed reassessment of his work in a global context.
The first of three sections, "Thoreau and (Non)Modernity," views
Thoreau as a social thinker who set himself against the "modern"
currents of his day even while contributing to the emergence of a
new era. By questioning the place of humans in the social,
economic, natural, and metaphysical order, he ushered in a
rethinking of humanity's role in the natural world that nurtured
the environmental movement. The second section, "Thoreau and
Philosophy," examines Thoreau's writings in light of the philosophy
of his time as well as current philosophical debates. Section
three, "Thoreau, Language, and the Wild," centers on his
relationship to wild nature in its philosophical, scientific,
linguistic, and literary dimensions. Together, these sixteen essays
reveal Thoreau's relevance to a number of fields, including
science, philosophy, aesthetics, environmental ethics, political
science, and animal studies.
Thoreauvian Modernities posits that it is the germinating
power of Thoreau's thought-the challenge it poses to our own
thinking and its capacity to address pressing issues in a new
way-that defines his enduring relevance and his modernity.
Contributors: Kristen Case, Randall Conrad, David Dowling, Michel
Granger, Michel Imbert, Michael Jonik, Christian Maul, Bruno
Monfort, Henrik Otterberg, Tom Pughe, David M. Robinson, William
Rossi, Dieter Schulz, François Specq, Joseph Urbas, Laura Dassow
Subjects: Language & Literature, Philosophy
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