The search for a common ground between science and our "visionary images" in 'Nature Cure' by Richard Mabey and 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' by Annie Dillard

Stenning, A (2013) 'The search for a common ground between science and our "visionary images" in 'Nature Cure' by Richard Mabey and 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' by Annie Dillard.' Green Letters, 17 (1). pp. 42-53. ISSN 1468-8417

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14688417.2012.750845

Abstract

'Nature Cure' presents Richard Mabey's attempts to reconcile his passionate personal reflections with a scientific perspective on human and non-human nature. This paper argues that Mabey finds an exemplar in Annie Dillard's classic of American nature literature, 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek'. It questions how Mabey can draw on Dillard's text without ignoring the complexities of local nature, and in doing so explores the implications of the British author's reconciliation with science. Arguing from the perspective of narrative scholarship, this paper proposes that 'Nature Cure' can be understood as an appeal to our own imaginations rather than an objective presentation of the author's interdependencies with non-human nature. The paper addresses how, by examining the interpenetration of nature and culture in the artist's imagination, 'Nature Cure' reminds us of our own cultural and imaginative relations with non-human nature. By focusing on particular renderings of sense perception in Mabey's text – principally vision – it is argued that Mabey's imaginative constructions are informed by local and global understandings. Through the aesthetic device of rendering, Mabey and Dillard show that sight is prone to error. This paper concludes that through his aesthetic presentations of contact with non-human nature, Richard Mabey reminds us of the imagination's central contribution to ethical and scientific reasoning.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Richard Mabey, Nature Cure, vision, Annie Dillard, ecocriticism, rendering, narrative scholarship
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 10:50
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 11:49
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