A review of The Nature Reader, edited by Daniel Halpern & Dan Frank

The nice thing about an anthology is you get different voices. In a really good anthology like this one you get a smorgasbord of voices, yet all these different voices are united by the orchestration of the editors, Halpern and Frank. In this volume, they present a dilemma: if ‘the traditional Western assumption about nature that has come under serious scrutiny: the idea that we are both apart from, and superior to, the natural world,’ how do we view nature in the late 20th/early 21st century when we are part of it?

Divided into several sections, each section begins with a poem. Most of the selections are from essays, though one section features features fictional excerpts, and the final section is an annotated bibliography. While I found some of the selections obscure, baffling, others were thought-provoking; for example, one essay touched off this train of thought:

How can you be creative and anonymous? Doesn’t consciousness need community? Barry Lopez writes that in the desert hundreds of years ago, somebody made a stone horse, about twice life-size. It’s still there. Long after I and my reasoning are gone, the love, the pain will become anonymous and decay or fade. That’s natural. Like the stone horse in the desert, hopefully vandals will leave them alone.

Maybe it’s not one-way writing but a two-way dialogue that makes for a good anthology. Plenty here. Spread the word.

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2 Responses to A review of The Nature Reader, edited by Daniel Halpern & Dan Frank

  1. suehirst says:

    It sounds worth reading. Thanks for the review. I look forward to discussing some of the contents with you, Peter.

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