Enfilade

New Book | Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World

Posted in books by Editor on January 28, 2015

From Yale UP:

James H. S. McGregor, Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World from Prehistory to the Present (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0300197464, $38.

9780300197464The garden was the cultural foundation of the early Mediterranean peoples; they acknowledged their reliance on and kinship to the land, and they understood nature through the lens of their diversely cultivated landscape. Their image of the garden underwrote the biblical book of Genesis and the region’s three major religions.

In this important melding of cultural and ecological histories, James H. S. McGregor suggests that the environmental crisis the world faces today is a result of Western society’s abandonment of the ‘First Nature’ principle—of the harmonious interrelationship of human communities and the natural world. The author demonstrates how this relationship, which persisted for millennia, effectively came to an end in the late eighteenth century, when ‘nature’ came to be equated with untamed landscape devoid of human intervention. McGregor’s essential work offers a new understanding of environmental accountability while proposing that recovering the original vision of ourselves, not as antagonists of nature but as cultivators of a biological world to which we innately belong, is possible through proven techniques of the past.

James H. S. McGregor is the author of five books on world cities. He is emeritus professor of comparative literature at the University of Georgia and lives in Cambridge, MA.

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