Scripting the Wilderness

Abstract : Nature writers confront the irreconcilable gap between experience and discourse while assigning themselves the impossible task of giving it expression. This is most acutely felt in writing about the wilderness, which is, by definition, a place where man is not supposed to belong. Using Don Scheese's "The Inhabited Wilderness" as a model, this article offers a new method of analysis for nature writing. Remaining close to the text, it shows how the writer organizes a montage of scripts centering on events, places, people and ideas. These scripts trace mental geographies in which references to actual places are fertilized by a human response, and conversely, interaction with non-human elements shapes thought. The scripts are deployed around a center that remains unexpressed. In leaving gaps and zones of indeterminacy, the writer creates a space for imagining more responsible forms of connection with place. To script the wilderness is a way to inhabit it, to mark it with a human trace while still conserving it.
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Wendy Harding. Scripting the Wilderness. Journal of American Studies of Turkey, 2009, 30 (Ecocriticism issue), pp.57-72. ⟨hal-00718146⟩

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