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Arcadian America :the death and life of an environmental tradition /Aaron Sachs.

Collection Type
Sachs, Aaron (Aaron Jacob)
Publisher Series
New directions in narrative history
New directions in narrative history.
Prologue : waterfalls and cemeteries -- Common shade : cultivating a place for death -- The middle landscapes of New England culture -- Sleepy Hollow : a young nation in repose -- Stumps -- Three men of the middle border (part one) : twilight -- Three men of the middle border (part two) : American homelessness -- Atlantis : Arcadia and Armageddon -- Epilogue : American Gothic; or death by landscape.
"Perhaps America's best environmental idea was not the national park but the garden cemetery, a use of space that quickly gained popularity in the mid-nineteenth century. Such spaces of repose brought key elements of the countryside into rapidly expanding cities, making nature accessible to all and serving to remind visitors of the natural cycles of life. In this unique interdisciplinary blend of historical narrative, cultural criticism, and poignant memoir, Aaron Sachs argues that American cemeteries embody a forgotten landscape tradition that has much to teach us in our current moment of environmental crisis.Until the trauma of the Civil War, many Americans sought to shape society into what they thought of as an Arcadia--not an Eden where fruit simply fell off the tree, but a public garden that depended on an ethic of communal care, and whose sense of beauty and repose related directly to an acknowledgement of mortality and limitation. Sachs explores the notion of Arcadia in the works of nineteenth-century nature writers, novelists, painters, horticulturists, landscape architects, and city planners, and holds up for comparison the twenty-first century's--and his own--tendency toward denial of both death and environmental limits. His far-reaching insights suggest new possibilities for the environmental movement today and new ways of understanding American history"-- Provided by publisher.
xi, 484 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
0300176406 (hardback)
9780300176407 (hardback)
Call Number
Stacks GT3203.S34 2013
Descriptive terms
Arcadia in art.
Arcadia in literature.
Cemeteries Environmental aspects
Cemeteries History 19th century.
Cemeteries Social aspects
Environmental responsibility
Environmentalism Social aspects
HISTORY / Social History.
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying.
United States
United States.