An important though little understood aspect of the response to nature of nineteenth-century Americans is the widespread interest in the scenery of swamps, jungles and other waste lands. Dark Eden focuses on this developing interest in order to redefine cultural values during a transformative period of American history. Professor Miller shows how, for many Americans in the period around the Civil War, nature came to be regarded less as a source of high moral insight and more as a sanctuary from an ever more urbanized and technological environment. In the swamps and jungles of the South a whole range of writers found a set of strange and exotic images by which to explore the changing social realities of the times and the deep-seated personal pressures that accompanied them.
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