Abbey in America : a philosopher's legacy in a new century by John A. Murray

By John A. Murray

More than twenty-five years after his dying, iconic author and nature activist Edward Abbey (1927-1989) continues to be an influential presence within the American environmental circulate. Abbey's top identified works remain greatly learn and encourage discourse at the key matters dealing with modern American society, rather with admire to urbanization and expertise. Abbey in America, released 40 years after Abbey's renowned novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, positive aspects an all-star record of individuals, together with newshounds, authors, students, and of Abbey's top buddies as they discover Abbey's principles and legacy via their particular literary, own, and scholarly perspectives.

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Abbey’s relationships with the authoritative hierarchies of his era—political, social, economic, literary, religious, academic—are best summarized in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s observation in In the First Circle (1968): “A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. ”6 Abbey, who referred to Solzhenitsyn as his “hero” in “A Writer’s Credo” (1988), quoted Ernest Hemingway in the same essay: “A writer is like a gypsy. He owes no allegiance to any government. If he is a good writer he will never like any government he lives under.

David Petersen (Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed, 2006), 127. 23. Edward Abbey, introduction to Abbey’s Road, xvi. 24. Edward Abbey to Alston Chase, December 16, 1987, in Postcards from Ed, 224–25. 25. George Packer, “Cheap Words,” New Yorker, February 17 and 24, 2014. 26.

He revered the old masters and studied and learned from them. If his fellow insurgent during the 1970s and 1980s, Hunter S. Thompson, was essentially a tragic writer who imposed comedy upon the calamities of human experience, then Edward Abbey was a neo-humanist who schooled himself in the ethics and rigor of contemporary science. His word-pictures rivaled, in terms of their literary quality, those of the nineteenth-century frontier writers Francis Parkman and Mark Twain. Some of his finest descriptive writing can be found in his four Australian essays, when he was confronting the unknown and unfamiliar and had to invent a new vocabulary and system of metaphors.

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