Imagining Rivers: The Aesthetics, History, and Politics of American Waterways. A Conversation Between Lawrence Buell and Christof Mauch


This contribution features a transatlantic conversation between Christof Mauch, environmental historian and Americanist from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and Lawrence Buell, literary scholar and “pioneer” of Ecocriticism from Harvard University. Buell’s The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (1995) marked the first major attempt to understand the green tradition of environmental writing, nonfiction as well as fiction, beginning in colonial times and continuing into the present day. With Thoreau’s Walden as a touchstone, this seminal book provided an account of the place of nature in the history of Western thought. Other highly acclaimed monographs include Writing for an Endangered World (2001), a book that brought industrialized and exurban landscapes into conversation with one other, and The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination (2009), which provides a critical survey of the ecocritical movement since the 1970s, with an eye to the future of the discipline.




American Rivers

Published : 2021-09-30

BuellL., & MauchC. (2021). Imagining Rivers: The Aesthetics, History, and Politics of American Waterways. A Conversation Between Lawrence Buell and Christof Mauch. Review of International American Studies, 14(1), 229-237.

Lawrence Buell 
Harvard University  United States

Lawrence Buell is Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. His books include The Environmental Imagination (1995), Writing for an Endangered World (2001), and The Future of Environmental Criticism (2005). He has held research fellowships from the Guggenheim and Mellon foundations and from the National Endowment for the Humanities. During the last quarter century, he has lectured widely on environmental humanities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2007, he received the Modern Language Association’s Jay Hubbell Award for lifetime contributions to American Literature studies (2007). His current book-in-progress is on the Art and Practice of Environmental Memory.

Christof Mauch
Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society LMU Munich  Germany

Christof Mauch is Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and Chair in American Cultural History at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He received a Dr.phil. in Modern German Literature from Tübingen University (1990) and a Dr. phil. habil. in Modern History from the University of Cologne (1998). Mauch is an Honorary Professor and Fellow at the Center for Ecological History at Renmin University in China, a past President of the European Society for Environmental History and a former Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. (1999–2007). His publications include Rivers in History: Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America (2008, with Thomas Zeller), and Slow Hope: Rethinking Ecologies of Crisis and Fear (2019).

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