“Transcendental Landscapes,” in American Victorians and Virgin Nature, ed. T. J. Jackson Lears (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2002).
What do Buffalo Bill and Winslow Homer tell us about Victorian America and the idea of the "virgin landscape?" How do John Ford's films continue to subvert the traditions of Frederic Remington? What do natural history murals tell us about how Victorian America saw its destiny?
Lively and accessible, this volume of six inter-disciplinary essays draws on museology, cultural geography, gender studies and literary history to explore the latest thinking about 19th century American landscape in the broadest sense. In a witty, lucid and wide-ranging introduction, T.J. Jackson Lears sets the stage for the six intriguing essays that follow: Richard White on transcendental landscapes, Sarah Burns on Winslow Homer and "the natural woman, " Michele Bogart on the neglected work of Charles R. Knight, diorama painter to the American Museum of Natural History, Elizabeth Johns on 19th century city-dwellers and day excursions, Stephen Pyne on how the Canyon became Grand, and Richard Slotkin on visual narrative and American Myth from Thomas Cole to John Ford.