'To Find God in Nature': Thoreau's Poetics of Natural History
Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2012
Source ID: shanti-sources-35066
Collection: Contemplation and Ecology
Abstract: 'A history of animated nature must itself be animated,' Thoreau recorded in his Journal in 1850, implying that such histories must animate the imagination of their readers if they are to make any impression on them. Yet, scholars claim that Thoreau ultimately grew disenchanted with figurative modes of representing nature and became more concerned with describing it with painstaking accuracy. I contend otherwise. This essay examines 'Autumnal Tints,' written toward the end of his life, as Thoreau's version of the kind of animated history that could inspire his readers to join him in his lifelong quest 'to find God in nature.'