Enchanted Forests: The Poetic Construction of a World before Time (Hardcover)

Enchanted Forests: The Poetic Construction of a World before Time By Boria Sax Cover Image

Enchanted Forests: The Poetic Construction of a World before Time (Hardcover)


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Linking literature, philosophy, art, and personal experience, a moving exploration of the wooded landscape’s power.
In 1985 Boria Sax inherited an area of forest in New York State, which had been purchased by his Russian, Jewish, and Communist grandparents as a buffer against what they felt was a hostile world. For Sax, in the years following, the woodland came to represent a link with those who currently live and had lived there, including Native Americans, settlers, bears, deer, turtles, and migrating birds. In this personal and eloquent account, Sax explores the meanings and cultural history of forests from prehistory to the present, taking in Gilgamesh, Virgil, Dante, the Gawain poet, medieval alchemists, the Brothers Grimm, Hudson River painters, Latin American folklore, contemporary African novelists, and much more. Combining lyricism with contemporary scholarship, Sax opens new emotional, intellectual, and environmental perspectives on the storied history of the forest.
Boria Sax teaches at Sing Sing Prison and online in the Graduate Literature Program at Mercy College. He has published many books, which have won awards and been translated into numerous languages.
Product Details ISBN: 9781789147902
ISBN-10: 1789147905
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: December 5th, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English
"We generally take forests for granted, but Sax, in this elegant history, reveals their glory and importance. When we look at our devastation of forests throughout the world, and how ignorant we are about the value of trees, it is a crime that we don't know more about their existence. Sax's graceful analysis guides us through all kinds of enchanted forests throughout history that need more respect than they have received."
— Jack Zipes, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota

“Put on your hiking boots and prepare for an adrenaline-fueled journey around the world with Sax as your expert guide. Make stops with Gilgamesh at the Cedar Forest of Lebanon, with Dante as he enters a dark forest, and with Joseph Conrad’s Marlow as he navigates his way down a river to the Congo. Behold Yggdrasil of Nordic mythologies, the Cosmic Tree that grows in Siberia, or the Waq Waq tree in medieval Arab belief systems. Beauty and wisdom flash out at us on every page of this captivating volume.”
— Maria Tatar, author of "The Heroine with 1001 Faces"

"Enchanted Forests is a book that will take the reader through the deep, dark woods and yet enlighten, entertain, and enthrall. Sax has brought together knowledge from many fields, and the ease with which he moves between them shows his intense engagement with the subject. It is a must-read for all those who love forests."
— Sadhana Naithani, Jawaharlal Nehru University