Wright “good nature writing” suggestions.

What criteria does Mabel Osgood Wright propose for “good nature writing?” Do you agree with her criteria? What would you add to her list? In other words, how would you define “good nature writing?”

Mabel Osgood Wright describes a historical transition from a view of that “Nature and depravity were interchangeable terms,” (Wright 156) bases primarily on a Puritanical New England mindset to literature suggesting that man lead a life outdoors, to” meet Nature upon the higher plane of the desire or perfect mental and physical understanding. (Wright 157) Her first suggestion is that nature needs to be portrayed from its own point of view instead of viewing it as “economic humanity” which vaguely advocated a preservation of nature so future generations can utilize and enjoy.

Her second suggestion is that nature no longer be gendered. She insists on nature as a sexless, indivisible. Wright suggests by feminizing nature it characterized it as incomplete or lacking. As nature has all sorts of male and feminie smpeices and qualities, placing one gender on nature stops one from upholding her next suggestion. That nature be seen “pure and simple.” Wright speaks lowly of writers who conjure up elaborate humanizations of animal live that are ill formed or outright unrealistic. She suggests that “braggarts,” people who write about nature without actually experiencing it firsthand, are counter what Nature Study writing is about. Using the discretion of “wiser men, [and] firsthand and accurate observers” (Wright 162) robs the text of authenticity, as writing about nature has as much to do with the individual and his/her observations as the subject itself. If the last suggestion were to be summed up it would be authenticity in expression and experience. I find this the most important criteria for evaluating nature texts and would even consider a journal kept at the time of composing the work be included as a preface to publication.

Mazel, David (ed). A Century of Early Ecocriticism. Ch./Art: Excerpts p. 26-47, 87-100, 113-147, 154-162. pub. University of Georgia Press 2001

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