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Responsibly at home: Wendell Berry s quest for the simple life. (Text)

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  • Wendell Berry, Kentucky poet, essayist, novelist, farmer, professor, and conservationist is an eloquent contemporary spokesperson for one of the most enduring visions in American culture, the simple life. As a philosophy of living, the simple life has embraced a multitude of ideas and forms throughout American history. In general, it may be seen as a state of mind oriented toward the harmony and balance of the material and the spiritual, the real and the ideal. It is usually animated by a sense of moral purpose and buoyed by the assumption that life will be enhanced by exercising enlightened restraint. Berry combines elements from three distinct simple life traditions--agrarianism, romanticism, and environmentalism--to produce a coherent philosophy of simplicity. The cornerstone of Berry s vision is human relationship to place. This relationship exists simultaneously on three levels. The most concrete is composed of the individual and the particular parcel of land where he or she lives. The second level expands the domain of place to include family and community. The final level prescribes the place of human life in the order of Creation. The full exploration of relation to place leads to Berry s lifelong attempt to answer the question, "How can one live responsibly at home in the world?"he dissertation sket ches the diverse traditions from which Berry draws inspiration, and then analyzes his poetry, fiction, and non-fiction for the elucidation of his simple life vision. It examines Berry s strident critique of contemporary American culture and explores some of the implications of the alternative he poses
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Date
  • 2006-08-11
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  • English
PID
  • ksl:etd-1059588399
Identifier ksl:etd-1059588399
HANDLE http://hdl.handle.net/2186/ksl:etd-1059588399
Access Rights Open Access
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