Yi-Fu Tuan Escapism

ISBN 13: 9780801865404

Escapism

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9780801865404: Escapism
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In prehistoric times, our ancestors began building shelters and planting crops in order to escape from nature's harsh realities. Today, we flee urban dangers for the safer, reconfigured world of suburban lawns and parks. According to geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, people have always sought to escape in one way or another, sometimes foolishly, often creatively and ingeniously. Glass-tower cities, suburbs, shopping malls, Disneyland―all are among the most recent monuments in our efforts to escape the constraints and uncertainties of life―ultimately, those imposed by nature. "What cultural product," Tuan asks, "is not escape?" In his new book, the capstone of a celebrated career, Tuan shows that escapism is an inescapable component of human thought and culture.

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Review:

"Who," writes the distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, "hasn't--sometime--wanted to escape? But from what?" In his fascinating look at the idea of escape, Tuan suggests that all human culture is really a kind of flight, an evasive mechanism, a means of not facing facts: our shelters give us refuge from the weather, our cities give us protection against nature red in tooth and claw, our religion and institutions give us solace against the certainty of death. "A human being," he says wryly, "is an animal who is congenitally indisposed to accept reality as it is." Tuan examines the artifacts of our present civilization to buttress his argument. The cornucopia of the modern supermarket, for instance, with its "dazzling pyramids of fruits and vegetables, its esplanades of meat," which promises ceaseless abundance, and the growth of escape-to-nature ideas, which, he insists, depend on an antithetical escape from nature (nature being, in his definition, "what remains or what can recuperate over time when all humans and their works are removed"). That escape to nature, he suggests, relies on an unfortunate abstraction, one of simplicity. Images of nature, he continues, are often formed from wishful thinking and not from direct experience, and they tend therefore to lack the complexity of reality. Tuan's vigorous essay is provocative, challenging, and a pleasure to read. --Gregory McNamee

Book Description:

Acclaimed cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan considers humanity's enduring desire to escape reality― and embrace alternatives such as love, culture, and Disneyworld

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9780801859267: Escapism

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ISBN 10:  0801859263 ISBN 13:  9780801859267
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998
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9780965786379: Escapism

John H..., 1998
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