FSEM: Writing Ecology: Literature and Environment

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Susan Fennimore Cooper and Emerson

After reading the selections from Susan Fennimore Cooper (James Fennimore Cooper’s daughter (author of _Last of the Mohicans_) and Ralph Waldo Emerson, think over and respond to the following questions in your blog by class time on Tuesday:

As Cooper and Emerson were writing during a similar time period as Thoreau, how does their perspective on nature and humans relationship to the non-human differ or complement Thoreau’s perspective from Walden? In what ways do you think Emerson and Thoreau might disagree/agree? What does Emerson say about working the land and about being “solitary”?

Did Susan Fennimore Cooper write merely for “the writer’s (her own) amusement, as she states in the Preface to Rural Hours? How do you think her perspective on nature and the use/abuse of resources would have been received in 1850? Do you think that her being a woman writer affected the critical reception of the work? What does she say about wilderness, and the history of the land (in relation to both native americans and old growth forests)?

2 Comments

bholtslafsem wrote @ January 27th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Susan Fennimore and Emerson
Cooper in her article seems to be much more appreciative of her surroundings in general than we see coming from Emerson or Thoreau. We see how she not only observes and comments on the environment and the man-made structures that inhabit it, but that she also enjoys observing such structures as an old mill, or the Native Americans’ conserving lifestyle.
With Emerson it is a different story. Emerson embellishes the reader with the idea that “Nature” is this spiritual being that can be heard within all, and how it is all around. With Thoreau we don’t see too much of this, simply put the reader sees only an appreciation for nature in its natural state. Thoreau loves the non-human presence in nature, and Walden shows us what a contemporary state should be like with human presence.
In Rural Hours, Cooper seems to be writing for her own amusement as we read in the preface. She is only commenting on appearances of her acquaintances along with her surroundings in the manner in which the reader can see she is writing it as she is thinking it. Her writing about the land preservation was probably not taken well in the year 1850. This is due simply because of the lack of knowledge being expelled at the time on the subject of land preservation, or environmental issues in general. Also her being a woman writer at the time of the work more than likely hurt her promotion of the work more-so than if she was a male writer.

Suzanne vickstrom | Betweenmywifes wrote @ September 14th, 2011 at 4:11 am

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