Abstract and Keywords
From 1773 to 1778, the botanist William Bartram explored the southeastern areas of North America, looking for biotic specimens. Bartram's account of the expedition epitomizes nature writing's combination of passionately pursued scientific knowledge about nature and a personal intimacy and emotional involvement with the land. This work, like so many in nature writing, overflows with an earth-focused spirituality. The range of traditions that North American nature writers have drawn from has been highly diverse. Christianity has been one source, although in widely different ways. Other common sources for nature spirituality have been the cultures of Asia and Native Americans. What is the nature that is considered sacred; and sacred in what way? In fact, “what is nature?” has become a thorny issue in both nature writing and environmental philosophy. Nature writers do not simply reflect on nature and its sacrality. They are also preoccupied with the spiritual awareness of the natural world. The social dimension of nature writing—the context of family and community, economics and politics—has also become a central part of the genre.
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