Maximum of Wilderness
Danger in the Congo! The unexplored Amazon! Longperceived as a place of mystery and danger, and more recently as a fragile system requiring ourprotection, the tropical forest captivated America for over a century. In The Maximum ofWilderness, Kelly Enright traces the representation of tropical forests--whatAmericans have typically thought of as ",jungles",--and their place in both ourperception of ",wildness", and the globalization of the environmental movement.In the early twentieth century, jungle adventure--as depicted by countless booksand films, from Burroughs's Tarzan novels to King Kong--hadenormous mass appeal. Concurrent with the proliferation of a popular image of the jungle that maskedmany of its truths was the work of American naturalists who sought to represent an",authentic", view of tropical nature through museums, zoological and botanical gardens,books, and film. Enright examines the relationship between popular and scientific representations ofthe forest through the lives and work of Martin and Osa Johnson (who with films such asCongorilla and Simba blended authenticity with adventure), aswell as renowned naturalists John Muir, William Beebe, David Fairchild, and Richard Evans Schultes. The author goes on to explore a startling shift at midcentury in the perception of the tropicalforest--from the ",jungle,", a place that endangers human life, to the ",rainforest,", a place that is itself endangered.
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