Road to Egdon Heath: The Aesthetics of the Great in Nature

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1999 - 409 pages
Bevis examines a wide range of English, European, and North American texts, literary works as well as religious, scientific, and travel writing. He surveys the literature on mountain climbing, sea voyages, desert travel, and polar exploration, and its metaphorical uses in poetry and fiction. Relying on Addison's term "the Great" rather than "the sublime," he shows how works such as Darwin's journals, Lyell's studies in geology, and de Saussure's books on the Alps helped form an outlook on nature that also found frequent literary expression. A wide-ranging, interdisciplinary work in the history of ideas, The Road to Egdon Heath traces the growth of an aesthetic sensibility that is now ubiquitous but which would have been incomprehensible prior to the Renaissance. This sensibility underlies not only much of modern literature but also our modern ideas about conservation, ecology, and environmentalism.

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Contents

Tempe and Thule i
3
UNDERPINNINGS
11
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
39
THE ROMANTIC PERIOD
99
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY 759
159
American Novelists and the Great
204
Desert Travel 183o7o
223
The Meanings of Mountains 183o7o
239
The Great and Barren in European Literature
263
Victorian Writers by the Sea of Doubt 2 79
279
The 187os
303
THE HEATH REVISITED
327
Chronology
333
Lexicon
349
Works Cited 3 75
375
Index
397

Polar Exploration 183o67
254

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