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Poetic Travelers: Figuring the Wild in Parkman, Fuller, and Kirkland

Poetic Travelers: Figuring the Wild in Parkman, Fuller, and Kirkland Francis Parkman, Margaret Fuller, and Caroline Kirkland brought far more than supplies and servants when they journeyed west--they came freighted with poetic lines. Nineteenth-century travel narratives incorporate an impressive amount of poetry. This surprising textual feature grants us a unique opportunity to consider the ideological and ecological implications of poetry for nineteenth-century US citizens. We discover that the lyric poem often served as a boundary condition of citizenship, the very testing ground for the self's relationship to polity and place. The poem created its own frontier condition, a liminal space between the reader's known world and the natural world of the North American landmass. The reader traversed that space, entering a virtual reality that could affirm or subvert assumptions about the "American" self and its relationship with the physical world. The poem could test the imperial self 's claims for dominion over the wild. Figuring the Wild But how can poems stage an interaction with the wild? As ecocriticism has compulsively worried, what is the relationship between text and world, word and natural artifact? Do we get at the real thing, the natural phenomenon, or are we forever confined by language? Following Dana Phillips's neopragmatic lead, we can http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Poetic Travelers: Figuring the Wild in Parkman, Fuller, and Kirkland

Western American Literature , Volume 44 (1) – Jun 15, 2009

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
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Abstract

Francis Parkman, Margaret Fuller, and Caroline Kirkland brought far more than supplies and servants when they journeyed west--they came freighted with poetic lines. Nineteenth-century travel narratives incorporate an impressive amount of poetry. This surprising textual feature grants us a unique opportunity to consider the ideological and ecological implications of poetry for nineteenth-century US citizens. We discover that the lyric poem often served as a boundary condition of citizenship, the very testing ground for the self's relationship to polity and place. The poem created its own frontier condition, a liminal space between the reader's known world and the natural world of the North American landmass. The reader traversed that space, entering a virtual reality that could affirm or subvert assumptions about the "American" self and its relationship with the physical world. The poem could test the imperial self 's claims for dominion over the wild. Figuring the Wild But how can poems stage an interaction with the wild? As ecocriticism has compulsively worried, what is the relationship between text and world, word and natural artifact? Do we get at the real thing, the natural phenomenon, or are we forever confined by language? Following Dana Phillips's neopragmatic lead, we can

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Jun 15, 2009

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