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“Land”

“Land” keywords Cheryll Glotfelty Th e keyword I would like to discuss is “land” because land is the bedrock of culture. As we go forward into the future we ought to keep in mind the fundamental reality that culture exists in a bio- physical, ecological context, which we can call “land.” Th ere are many diff erent defi nitions of land, each implying a specifi c paradigm or worldview. Today I would like to invoke Aldo Leopold’s view of land, which he off ers in his book A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, before the Western Literature Associa- tion even existed. By appealing to Leopold, I am obviously looking backward in time, but I would contend that our culture— and the WLA— have yet to make the paradigm shift implicit in his writing. “Conservation is getting nowhere,” Leopold laments, “because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect” (xviii– xix; emphasis added). Elsewhere Leopold argues that the image of “man the conquer- or” must http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142

Abstract

keywords Cheryll Glotfelty Th e keyword I would like to discuss is “land” because land is the bedrock of culture. As we go forward into the future we ought to keep in mind the fundamental reality that culture exists in a bio- physical, ecological context, which we can call “land.” Th ere are many diff erent defi nitions of land, each implying a specifi c paradigm or worldview. Today I would like to invoke Aldo Leopold’s view of land, which he off ers in his book A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, before the Western Literature Associa- tion even existed. By appealing to Leopold, I am obviously looking backward in time, but I would contend that our culture— and the WLA— have yet to make the paradigm shift implicit in his writing. “Conservation is getting nowhere,” Leopold laments, “because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect” (xviii– xix; emphasis added). Elsewhere Leopold argues that the image of “man the conquer- or” must

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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