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Download Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History by Gunther Barth PDF

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By Gunther Barth

The stress among nature and tradition, which accompanies the increase of any huge society, has develop into an issue of serious predicament in our time. during this compelling examine, Gunther Barth, acclaimed writer of City humans: the increase of contemporary urban tradition in Nineteenth-Century America, identifies fleeting moments of harmony among nature and tradition during American historical past. throughout the look for the barren region Passage, the development of the Lewis and Clark day trip, and the development of park cemeteries and large urban parks, american citizens learned that nature was once now not in simple terms a strength to be reckoned with, no longer purely a source to be exploited, but additionally an essential element of their lives. throughout the engineering of nature and tradition within the city surroundings, the lively makes an attempt to preserve large-scale nature within the usa emerged as an offspring of the large urban. Heightening our figuring out of the historic complexity of the connection among nature and tradition, and suggesting that concord among the 2 is a mark of civilization, this unique learn might be a useful consultant to somebody inquisitive about the standard of lifestyles in the USA, prior and future.

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Extra info for Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American History

Sample text

Unlike the wonders of the East, which for centuries had only reached them through tales traveling the great caravan routes, the New World forced its realities directly on newcomers. After a long voyage, they felt so anxious to see the marvels and possess them that they rarely noted they lacked the words to describe them or the concepts to assimilate them. After the conquest of the Aztecs, when the Spaniards had seen the flowering capital of Tenochtitlan, the imagined "Seven Cities of Cibola" appeared far more real than the Northwest Passage or the Wilderness Passage.

There he forged military and commercial alliances with venerated chiefs and mighty warriors. Their dignity and courage, their extraordinary individualism, evoked once more the glorious independence of his own caste, which now depended on the king. In the wilderness, Frontenac carried himself like a fashionable courtier reliving elegant summer nights in the forest parks surrounding the palaces of his homeland. He managed to hold on, however, to the fine line dividing dream and reality, because his heritage and instinct immediately alerted him when he had reached the point where aristocratic hauteur had to give way to fatherly love for the "red children" of France.

In particular a harmonious relation with nature came easier because the Corps of Discovery, as the Lewis and Clark expedition was called at times, shared the previous wilderness experience of Europeans. They had probed North America for almost three centuries before the United States emerged in 1776. Then its citizens, by officially calling themselves Americans, claimed a special affinity with the continent, at least in name. The young nation of English stock, with an amalgam of European, North American Indian, and African people, had been built by the political genius of the Founding Fathers.

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