Worldly atonement: neo-agrarianism and marriage to place in the works of Wendell Berry

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department English
Author Wallis, Bryan Verdin
Title Worldly atonement: neo-agrarianism and marriage to place in the works of Wendell Berry
Date 2008-08
Description The writings of essayist, poet, novelist, and farmer Wendell Berry are a preeminent influence in an ongoing neo-agrarian renaissance. Drawing from his cannon of essays, fiction, and poetry, this work elucidates several key principles of Berry's "agrarian argument" including his sense of the relationship between culture, worship, and agriculture, his relationship to the past and the Western tradition, and the connections between urban and agricultural landscapes. This work argues that Berry's thought is not simply a nostalgic yearning for a never-realized agrarian ideal (as construed by some critics) but that Berry looks forward to the possibility of healthy communities (which for Berry include humans, animals, plants, and ecosystems) grounded in the health of the sustaining land, and that Berry's thought expands agrarian thought and practice beyond the family farm into rural and urban environments. This work examines Berry's critiques of industrial capitalism and current educational and religious thinking, and argues for Berry's twenty-first-century popular and academic relevance. From a broad focus on agrarian principles this work shifts to examine (primarily through the lens of his fiction) the proper relationship Berry imagines between humans and the surrounding world based on his metaphorical use of marriage and the moral exemplar of the husbandman to imagine a relationship of lifelong care and fidelity between individuals, community, and place. This work also examines Berry's sense of atonement, an integration of individuals to a sustaining pattern of community and an ultimately literal at-one-ment between humans, place, and the divinity Berry perceives as eminent in the world.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Agriculture in literature; Environmental protection in literature
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name MA
Language eng
Relation is Version of Digital reproduction of "Worldly atonement: neo-agrarianism and marriage to place in the works of Wendell Berry" J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, PE27.5 2008 .W34
Rights Management © Bryan Verdin Wallis
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 58,412 bytes
Identifier us-etd2,27296
Source Original: University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
ARK ark:/87278/s6vm4sst
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-04-23
Date Modified 2018-04-16
ID 192589
Reference URL