By John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith
First released in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional info for American Space American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States
All the naturalism of our day begins just here,” he explained, “in the denial of this self-evident and every where visible fact, the existence of sin” (Bushnell 1858: 24, 25, 142). Affirmations of original sin and calls for supernatural redemption have not ended, and a persistent strain of political thought, beginning in the Constitution, views the natural man with grave suspicion, yet for nearly two hundred years America has been dominated by “the bright and hopeful view of what man might become and stood a good chance of becoming in his new [American] home” (Curti 1980: 409; Schlesinger, Jr.
Well-informed Americans who placed their trust in the most respectable authorities began the seventh decade of the twentieth century with a clear intuition that something had gone catastrophically wrong with American nature, that this had happened because something had gone catastrophically wrong with America, and that the time had come for an unprecedented change. Although exceedingly dire, the image of abused nature was remarkably non-ideological. Indeed, it was widely supposed that environmental protection and restoration was a political movement around which all peoples could make common cause.
A natural wonder such as the Grand Canyon affords the viewer a number of strong sensations that can be transformed, through interpretation, into an idea of nature. This makes it possible to form an intuitive comprehension of something that is otherwise too large, complex, and abstract for immediate apprehension. Properly interpreted, for instance, this particular symbolic landscape impresses one with an intuitive comprehension of the vast dimensions and astonishing duration of natural processes.
American Space American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States by John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith