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Ecology and Modern Scottish Literature$
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Louisa Gairn

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633111

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633111.001.0001

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Strange Lands

Strange Lands

(p.46) Chapter 2 Strange Lands
Ecology and Modern Scottish Literature

Louisa Gairn

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the confrontation of modernity and wilderness in Stevenson's fiction and travel writings, relating this to the work of John Muir and to ideas developed by Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Charles Baudelaire, taking up the idea of ‘exile’ in the context of the philosophy of ‘dwelling’ developed by ecotheorists. It notes that Stevenson's generation experienced an unprecedented acceleration of ‘progress’, where rapid developments in technology and urbanisation disrupted the idea of home and homeland. It further notes that progress for Stevenson and other Scots brought with it the possibility of international travel, and exposure to exotic lands and wilderness areas which appeared, to the Old World observer, as somehow ahistorical, a confusing mix of primordial nature and the markers of nineteenth-century modernity.

Keywords:   Stevenson, travel writings, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, exile, ecotheorists, modernity

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