By Robert Pogue Harrison
During this wide-ranging exploration of the position of forests in Western idea, Robert Pogue Harrison enriches our figuring out not just of the forest's position within the cultural mind's eye of the West, but in addition of the ecological dilemmas that now confront us so urgently. continually insightful and wonderfully written, this paintings is mainly compelling at a time while the wooded area, as a resource of ask yourself, appreciate, and that means, disappears day-by-day from the earth.
"Forests is likely one of the so much amazing essays at the human position in nature i've got ever learn, and belongs at the small shelf that incorporates Raymond Williams' masterpiece, The kingdom and the City. Elegantly conceived, superbly written, and powerfully argued, [Forests] is a version of scholarship at its passionate top. nobody who cares approximately cultural background, in regards to the human position in nature, or concerning the way forward for our earthly domestic, may still pass over it.—William Cronon, Yale Review
"Forests is, between different issues, a piece of scholarship, and one in every of giant price . . . one who we now have wanted. it may be learn and reread, further to and commented on for your time to come."—John Haines, The long island instances booklet Review
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Additional info for Forests: The Shadow of Civilization
THE DEMON OF GILGAMESH Vico's imaginative reconstruction of the beginnings of things human tells the story of a fundamental hostility, religious in origin, between the institutions of humanity and the outlying forests. Humanity in its very essence is a historical, that is, extraforestial, phenomenon for Vico. To be human means to dwell in the openness of time, in defiance of the oblivion of nature, and hence to be governed by memory, which maintains the temporal coherence between past and future.
By dismembering their victims in a moment of ecstatic vision, the maenads merely destroy the illusions of formal integrity. All becomes indefinite in the Dionysian frenzy, for Dionysos, like Artemis, liquidates the boundaries of form. Forms maintain themselves in the world through a kind of restraint. Restraint is active resistance against the amorphous chaos of matter, which forever wants to draw phenomena back into the matrix oflife. The hero of such resistance in The Bacchae is Pentheus, king of Thebes.
Ancient Greece witnessed similar religious revolutions during its prehistory, but in Greece too this goddess lived on in various transfigured versions even after the Olympian gods emerged victorious over the Titans. Her name in Greek is Artemis. She is one of the oldest, most enigmatic of Greek deities. Her worship goes back to the PreHellenic period, but even in historical times she was widely worshipped as a fertility goddess in Asia Minor, her cult being based at Ephesus. From that city there has come down to us the famous marble statue that depicts her standing upright with arms extending outward from the elbows.