Title

Community within Nature: Culture and Environment in the Chimney Farm Literature of Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth, 1944–48

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Abstract

In the nature section of used bookstores, readers interested in back-to-the-land movements are sometimes surprised to find the longevity of this impulse. The wish to leave the urban environment for the countryside, and to write about it, has been a strong desire in American culture. No matter what decade, the overall theme of these books remains remarkably similar: an over-arching antimodernist appeal to middle-class urbanites concerned with unchecked industrial growth, urban sprawl, and the fast pace of modern living. And yet, this dominant focus overshadows other possible means of interpreting these texts. In the 1940s, writers Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth, among others, moved beyond simple condemnation of modernism to embrace concern for the environment; to a significant degree, this revolt against modernism helped set the stage for the modern environmental movement.

Publication Title

ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Volume

18

Issue

4

First Page

820

Last Page

839

DOI of Published Version

10.1093/isle/isr105