Abbey in America : a philosopher's legacy in a new century by John A. Murray

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By John A. Murray

More than twenty-five years after his dying, iconic author and nature activist Edward Abbey (1927-1989) is still an influential presence within the American environmental stream. Abbey's top identified works remain extensively learn and encourage discourse at the key matters dealing with modern American society, quite with admire to urbanization and know-how. Abbey in America, released 40 years after Abbey's renowned novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, beneficial properties an all-star checklist of individuals, together with reporters, authors, students, and of Abbey's most sensible acquaintances as they discover Abbey's principles and legacy via their precise literary, own, and scholarly perspectives.

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Camus, who studied the anarchist movement in his youth, was a significant influence on Abbey, who wrote his master’s thesis at the University of New Mexico on the subject of anarchism. Both Camus and Abbey were deeply affected by the philosophers of Greece and placed the lucidity and rationality of the sunny Mediterranean philosophers at the core of their belief systems. Edward Abbey could have chosen to live anywhere—Sigurd Olson’s Voyageur’s Country, Adolph Murie’s Alaska, Edwin Way Teale’s New England—but he established himself in the Southwestern province—northern New Mexico—which seemed to him the opposite of all those other places, and the area most likely to inspire him, as it had kindred spirits who came before.

David Petersen (Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed, 2006), 127. 23. Edward Abbey, introduction to Abbey’s Road, xvi. 24. Edward Abbey to Alston Chase, December 16, 1987, in Postcards from Ed, 224–25. 25. George Packer, “Cheap Words,” New Yorker, February 17 and 24, 2014. 26.

That strategic choice—embracing life, health, and happiness over death, sadness, and prolonged mourning—represented one of the author’s most attractive qualities. He was an eternally questing spirit who, throughout his life, kept moving steadily from the darkness toward the light. Abbey stood in contrast to many of the nature writers of his time, who often composed essays and books in a gothic mode of anxiety and personal introspection. Representative examples of this melancholy, humorless, and inward-dwelling school can be found in Terry Tempest Williams’s graphic family death narrative Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, which David Quammen contemporaneously reviewed in “Palpitating the Tumor” (Outside magazine), as well as in the intense psychological essays, such as “Recovering Memory” and “Sliver of Sky,” of Barry Lopez.

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