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Invaluable trees
cultures of nature, 1660-1830

Volume: SVEC 2012:08
Series editor: Jonathan Mallinson
Volume editor(s): Laura Auricchio, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook and Giulia Pacini
Date of publication: August 2012

Pagination: xi + 360 pp., 15 ill., pb (broché)

Price: £75 / €89 / $99

  ISBN-13: 978-0-7294-1048-9

Description: Trees and tree products have long been central to human life and culture, taking on intensified significance during the long eighteenth century. As basic raw material they were vital economic resources, objects of international diplomatic and commercial exchange, and key features in local economies. In an age of ongoing deforestation, both individuals and public entities grappled with the complex issues of how and why trees mattered.
In this interdisciplinary volume, contributors build on recent research in environmental history, literary and material culture, and postcolonial studies to develop new readings of the ways trees were valued in the eighteenth century. They trace changes in early modern theories of resource management and ecology across European and North American landscapes, and show how different and sometimes contradictory practices were caught up in shifting conceptions of nature, social identity, physical health and moral wellbeing.
In its innovative and thought-provoking exploration of man’s relationship with trees, Invaluable trees: cultures of nature, 1660 –1830 argues for new ways of understanding the long eighteenth century and its values, and helps re-frame the environmental challenges of our own time.

Laura Auricchio, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook and Giulia Pacini, Introduction: invaluable trees
I. Arboreal lives
Hamish Graham, ‘Alone in the forest’? Trees, charcoal and charcoal burners in eighteenth-century France
J. L. Caradonna, Conservationism avant la lettre,? Public essay competitions on forestry and deforestation in eighteenth-century France
Paula Young Lee, Land, logs and liberty: the Revolutionary expansion of the Muséum d’histoire naturelle during the Terror
Peter Mcphee, ‘Cette anarchie dévastatrice’: the légende noire of the French Revolution
Paul Elliott, Erasmus Darwin’s trees
Giulia Pacini, At home with their trees: arboreal beings in the eighteenth-century French imaginary
II. Strategic trees
Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, The vocal stump: the politics of tree-felling in Swift’s ‘On cutting down the old thorn at Market Hill’
Michael Guenther, Tapping nature’s bounty: science and sugar maples in the age of improvement
Meredith Martin, Bourbon renewal at Rambouillet
Susan Taylor-Leduc, Assessing the value of fruit trees in the marquis de Fontanes’s poem Le Verger
Elizabeth Hyde, Arboreal negotiations, or William Livingston’s American perspective on the cultural politics of trees in the Atlantic world
Lisa Ford, The ‘naturalisation’ of François André Michaux’s North American sylva: patriotism in early American natural history
III. Arboreal enlightenments
Tom Williamson, The management of trees and woods in eighteenth-century England
Steven King, The healing tree
Nicolle Jordan, ‘I writ these lines on the body of the tree’: Jane Barker’s arboreal poetics
Waltraud Maierhofer, Goethe and forestry
Paula R. Backscheider, Disputed value: women and the trees they loved
Aaron S. Allen, ‘Fatto di Fiemme’: Stradivari’s violins and the musical trees of the Paneveggio

Collaborator list: Aaron S. Allen, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Laura Auricchio, The New School; Paula R. Backscheider, Auburn University; Jeremy Caradonna, University of Alberta; Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, University of California, Santa Barbara; Paul Elliott, University of Derby; Lisa Ford, Yale Center for British Art; Hamish Graham, University of New South Wales; Michael Guenther, Grinnell College; Elizabeth Hyde, Kean University; Nicolle Jordan, University of Southern Mississippi; Steven King, University of Leicester; Paula Young Lee, Tufts University; Waltraud Maierhofer, University of Iowa; Meredith Martin, Wellesley College; Peter McPhee, University of Melbourne; Giulia Pacini, College of William & Mary; Susan Taylor-Leduc, Independent Scholar / Trinity College, Paris Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia

Collaborator biographies: Laura Auricchio is Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of Humanities at The New School in New York. Her current research addresses Franco-American cultural exchanges in the Age of Revolution.
Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies the history of environmental ethics and early modern representations of trees and forests.
Giulia Pacini is Associate Professor of French at The College of William & Mary. Her current research focuses on the political and material significance of trees in early modern France.