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Peter Matthiessen and Ecological Imagination

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Intaek Oh

Peter Matthiessen and Ecological Imagination offers an ecocritical reading of the Watson Trilogy – Killing Mister Watson (1990), Lost Man’s River (1997), and Bone By Bone (1999) – which draws together themes Matthiessen has been exploring both in his fiction and nonfiction. While this study argues that his ecological imagination comes from his unique experience as a novelist, naturalist, environmentalist, social activist, and a student of Zen, it also illustrates that for Matthiessen, economic, political, social, racial, psychological, epistemological, and ecological issues are all inseparably interconnected. Set in the Everglades frontier in the formative era of American industrial capitalism, Matthiessen’s novels are his grand attempt to reexamine the root causes of ecological disaster in the region and the costs to the people and the land that accompanied the conquering of the frontier.