Wendell Berry Imagination in Place

ISBN 13: 9781582435626

Imagination in Place

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9781582435626: Imagination in Place
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"Berry's latest collection of essays is the reminiscence of a literary life. It is a book that acknowledges a lifetime of intellectual influences, and in doing so, positions Berry more squarely as a cornerstone of American literature . . . A necessary book. Here, Berry's place as the 'grandfather of slow food' or the 'prophet of rural living' is not questioned. This book ensures we understand the depth and breadth of Berry's art." ―San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] stellar collection . . . Foodies, architects, transportation engineers, and other writers are adopting and adapting [Berry’s] concepts, perhaps leading to what he envisions will one day be 'an authentic settlement of our country.'" ―The Oregonian


In Imagination in Place, we travel to the local cultures of several writers important to Berry's life and work, from Wallace Stegner's great West and Ernest Gaines' Louisiana plantation life to Donald Hall's New England, and on to the Western frontier as seen through the Far East lens of Gary Snyder. Berry laments today's dispossessed and displaced, those writers and people with no home and no citizenship, but he argues that there is hope for the establishment of new local cultures in both the practical and literary sense.

Berry laments today's dispossessed and displaced, those writers and people with no home and no citizenship, but he argues that there is hope for the establishment of new local cultures in both the practical and literary sense. Rich with Berry's personal experience of life as a Kentucky agrarian, the collection includes portraits of a few of America's most imaginative writers, including James Still, Hayden Carruth, Jane Kenyon, John Haines, and several others.

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From Booklist:

*Starred Review* The essays of Berry’s new collection are of two kinds. Most are short appreciations of other writers who have taught him, formally (Wallace Stegner) as well as in the way all writers teach those who respond to them, as exemplary observers of humanity and truth. These small pieces’ subjects include, besides novelist Stegner, poets John Haines, Hayden Carruth, and Jane Kenyon; fellow Kentuckians James Still, Gurney Norman, and James Baker Hall (the last a fine photographer, to boot)—all personal acquaintances and friends of Berry’s—California’s Buddhist-ecologist bard, Gary Snyder; and the great English poet and scholar of Blake and Yeats, Kathleen Raine, whom he knows primarily from their work. The longer pieces weigh in with congenial gravity on how it has been to live and work in the same place for 40-some years; the effects of the Civil War on literature and public consciousness, especially in his own region, the upper South; self-knowledge and adversity in As You Like It and King Lear; and a typical scientist’s rant against theism. The Shakespearean piece, rebutting currently fashionable “dark” interpretations, particularly of Lear, is very probably destined to be a classic essay, while the concluding defense of belief and science rather obviates one side of the religion-science controversy while demolishing the other. --Ray Olson

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Praise for Imagination in Place

"Berry's latest collection of essays is the reminiscence of a literary life. It is a book that acknowledges a lifetime of intellectual influences, and in doing so, positions Berry more squarely as a cornerstone of American literature . . . a necessary book. Here, Berry's place as the 'grandfather of slow food' or the 'prophet of rural living' is not questioned. This book ensures we understand the depth and breadth of Berry's art." San Francisco Chronicle

[A] stellar collection . . . Berry turns over well-tilled, ever-fertile ground in Imagination in Place. His ideas flow beyond the channels of agrarian enthusiasm. Foodies, architects, transportation engineers, and other writers are adopting and adapting his concepts, perhaps leading to what he envisions will one day be an authentic settlement of our country.’” The Oregonian

"As the local-foods movement grows and skepticism about suburban sprawl increases, Berry’s long-held ideas ring with renewed urgency." The Christian Science Monitor

"For those who’ve already come to admire Berry’s moral clarity and closely argued critiques of contemporary society, Imagination in Place is a welcome chance to continue the conversation.” The Christian Science Monitor

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9781582437064: Imagination in Place

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ISBN 10:  1582437068 ISBN 13:  9781582437064
Publisher: Counterpoint, 2011
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