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As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art

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As Eve Said to the Serpent

On Landscape, Gender, and Art

By Rebecca Solnit

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Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 March 2003
To Rebecca Solnit, the word "landscape" implies not only literal places but also the ground on which we invent our lives and confront our innermost troubles and desires. The organic world, to Solnit, gives rise to the social, political, and philosophical landscapes we inhabit. In these nineteen quirky, smart, and wryly humorous pieces, Solnit ranges across disciplines to explore nuclear test sites, deserts, clouds, caves, and the meaning of national borders - as well as ideas of the feminine and the sublime as they relate to our physical and psychological terrains. Sixty images throughout the book display the work of the contemporary artists under discussion, including landscape photographers, performance artists, sculptors, and installation artists. Alongside her text, Solnit's gallery of images provides a vivid excursion into new ways of perceiving landscape, bodies, and art. Animals and the human body appear together with space and terra firma as Solnit reconfigures the blurred lines that define nature.

About the Author

Rebecca Solnit is the best-selling author of Wanderlust, Savage Dreams, and several other books. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA Fellowship for Literature. She is a contributing editor for Art Issues and Creative Camera magazines and lives in San Francisco.

Reviews

Invoking Hannah Arendt's observation, "Metaphors are the means by which the oneness of the world is poetically brought about," Solnit launches into a mlange of cultural and political criticism in these 19 essays (many previously published). But Solnit doesn't tarry long on easy targets, diving instead into political thickets, guided by the preoccupation with environmentalism and social justice that has informed her previous books (the highly praised Wanderlust: A History of Walking and The Hollow City were both published within the last year). Here, she addresses subjects like the myth of Eden; the politics and aesthetics of nature photography and calendars; interconnections between the WWII-era nuclear physicists' frequent walks and the hydrogen bomb; the metaphoric significance of natural history museums; and the meaning, for women, of the "deadly" Medusa myth. While her frame of reference encompasses political, academic and historical territories, Solnit's foremost theme prevails: the tensions between human quests for "civilization" and for nourishment in nature. Neatly balancing reportage, critical opinion and literary metaphor, Solnit standing clear-eyed on the shoulders of Walter Benjamin, Kristeva, Rachel Carson and many others attempts a bold, critical synthesis that, if occasionally unequal to its lofty goals, always provokes and challenges. Solnit's important contribution to contemporary feminist and environmental literature, as well as social and art criticism, is equally crucial for ushering "real-world" environmental politics fully and thoughtfully into the ivory tower. Photos. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

In this diverse and intelligent collection, Solnit (Wanderlust) gathers 18 examples of her ongoing investigation of art, landscape, feminism, and the importance of how we relate to the places in which we live. Her counterintuitive attitude is always in the foreground. Here, it frames the thinking behind this book: "I always thought Eve and the serpent must have conversed at greater length than Genesis records," she writes. And that imagined conversation, of which Eve was an active part, is Solnit's inspiration for looking at the world with an eye toward complexity. Thus, she interweaves ideas about physics, walking, the difference between nature photography and landscape photography, and much more with discussion of a number of artists (Richard Misrach, Robert Dawson, and Petah Coyne, to name only a few) to make a challenging but rewarding whole. Though most of these pieces have been published before, their appearances were scattered in magazines and in art books; to have them together offers an excellent vantage point from which to examine and enjoy the thinking of this maverick. Recommended for all art collections. Rebecca Miller, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Solnit . . . is the very model of a public intellectual."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "Thought-provoking and often epigrammatic . . . Reading Solnit's various and vigorous essays is like hiking with an energetic and experienced guide: One discovers the richness of place, and gains perspective. "As Eve Said to the Serpent" will change how you look at the world."--"Bloomsbury Review" "Solnit--a perfect guide to all things mind and matter (close to everything, in other words)--has written a gorgeous set of meditations on what we make of the material world. These essays on how we turn places and bodies into art and ideas--and into dreams and nightmares--are surprising, smart, poetic, political, and very funny."--Jennifer Price, author of "Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America" "Diverse and intelligent . . . An excellent vantage point from which to examine and enjoy the thinking of this maverick."--"Library Journal" "Neatly balancing reportage, critical opinion and literary metaphor, Solnit standing clear-eyed on the shoulders of Walter Benjamin, Kristeva, Rachel Carson and many others attempts a bold, critical synthesis that, if occasionally unequal to its lofty goals, always provokes and challenges."--"Publishers Weekly" ""As Eve Said to the Serpent" is a unique and valuable collection by a writer whose star is rising. Written with wit and sensitivity, the book is exciting, accessible, and relevant to readers in a variety of fields. More importantly, it has the potential to dilate our perceptions of and thoughts about land and landscape, which are critical to our survival."--William L. Fox, editor of "Tumble Words: Writers Reading the West" "Solnit, almost singlehandedly, is bringing the discourse of environmental feminism into its maturity, out of the realm of political correctness and into the realm of political felicity and verbal ebullience. The quality and aspiration of her writing in this book is commensurate with the urgency of her topic, which is very urgent indeed."--Dave Hickey "Solnit's graceful and trenchant inquiries into our perceptions of nature, women, art, and technology explicate both our nostalgia for lost wilderness and our painfully slow shift from 'a mechanical to an ecological worldview.'"--"Booklist" Solnit, almost singlehandedly, is bringing the discourse of environmental feminism into its maturity, out of the realm of political correctness and into the realm of political felicity and verbal ebullience. The quality and aspiration of her writing in this book is commensurate with the urgency of her topic, which is very urgent indeed.--Dave Hickey Neatly balancing reportage, critical opinion and literary metaphor, Solnit standing clear-eyed on the shoulders of Walter Benjamin, Kristeva, Rachel Carson and many others attempts a bold, critical synthesis that, if occasionally unequal to its lofty goals, always provokes and challenges.--"Publishers Weekly" "As Eve Said to the Serpent" is a unique and valuable collection by a writer whose star is rising. Written with wit and sensitivity, the book is exciting, accessible, and relevant to readers in a variety of fields. More importantly, it has the potential to dilate our perceptions of and thoughts about land and landscape, which are critical to our survival.--William L. Fox "editor of "Tumble Words: Writers Reading the West" " Solnit's graceful and trenchant inquiries into our perceptions of nature, women, art, and technology explicate both our nostalgia for lost wilderness and our painfully slow shift from 'a mechanical to an ecological worldview.'--"Booklist" Diverse and intelligent . . . An excellent vantage point from which to examine and enjoy the thinking of this maverick.--"Library Journal" Solnit--a perfect guide to all things mind and matter (close to everything, in other words)--has written a gorgeous set of meditations on what we make of the material world. These essays on how we turn places and bodies into art and ideas--and into dreams and nightmares--are surprising, smart, poetic, political, and very funny.--Jennifer Price "author of "Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America" " Solnit . . . is the very model of a public intellectual.--"San Francisco Chronicle" Thought-provoking and often epigrammatic . . . Reading Solnit's various and vigorous essays is like hiking with an energetic and experienced guide: One discovers the richness of place, and gains perspective. "As Eve Said to the Serpent" will change how you look at the world.--"Bloomsbury Review"

EAN: 9780820324937
ISBN: 0820324930
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Dimensions: 24.1 x 20.3 x 1.4 centimetres (0.50 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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