American Georgics : Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2011-04-26
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
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From Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to Michelle Obama's White House organic garden, the image of America as a nation of farmers has persisted from the beginnings of the American experiment. In this rich and evocative collection of agrarian writing from the past two centuries, writers from Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur to Wendell Berry reveal not only the great reach and durability of the American agrarian ideal, but also the ways in which society has contested and confronted its relationship to agriculture over the course of generations. Drawing inspiration from Virgil's agrarian epic poem,Georgics, this collection presents a complex historical portrait of the American character through its relationship to the land. From the first European settlers eager to cultivate new soil, to the Transcendentalist, utopian, and religious thinkers of the nineteenth century, American society has drawn upon the vision of a pure rural life for inspiration. Back-to-the-land movements have surged and retreated in the past centuries yet provided the agrarian roots for the environmental movement of the past forty years. Interpretative essays and a sprinkling of illustrations accompany excerpts from each of these periods of American agrarian thought, providing a framework for understanding the sweeping changes that have confronted the nation's landscape.

Author Biography

Edwin C. Hagenstein is a freelance editor and writer in Boston. He lives in Maynard, MA. Sara M. Gregg teaches U.S. and environmental history at the University of Kansas. She is the author of Managing the Mountains, published by Yale University Press. Brian Donahue is Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University and Environmental Historian at Harvard Forest. He is also the author of two award-winning books published by Yale University Press, The Great Meadow and Reclaiming the Commons. He lives in Weston, MA.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Introductionp. 1
Shaping the Agrarian Republic, 1780-1825p. 9
A Nation of Farmers: The Promise and Peril of American Agriculture, 1825-1860p. 57
The Machine in the Garden: The Rise of American Romanticismp. 105
Agriculture in an Industrializing Nation, 1860-1910p. 149
Agrarians in an Industrial Nation, 1900-1945p. 199
Southern Agrarianism, 1925-1940p. 251
Back to the Land Again, 1940-Presentp. 299
Conclusion: American Agrarianism in the Twenty-first Centuryp. 369
Bibliographyp. 377
Selection Creditsp. 391
Indexp. 393
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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