The Rediscovery of the Wild

We often enjoy the benefits of connecting with nearby, domesticated nature—a city park, a back­yard garden. But this book makes the provocative case for the necessity of connecting with wild nature—untamed, unmanaged, not encompassed, self-organizing, and unencumbered and unmediated by tech­nological artifice. We can love the wild. We can fear it. We are strengthened and nurtured by it. As a species, we came of age in a natural world far wilder than today’s, and much of the need for wildness still exists within us, body and mind. The Rediscovery of the Wild considers ways to engage with the wild, protect it, and recover it—for our psychological and physical well-being and to flourish as a species.

The contributors offer a range of perspectives on the wild, discussing such topics as the evolutionary underpin­nings of our need for the wild; the wild within, including the primal passions of sexuality and aggression; birding as a portal to wildness; children’s fascination with wild animals; wildness and psychological healing; the shifting baseline of what we consider wild; and the true work of conservation.

“No other wild-writing has drawn on such a robust set of commentators, of such stature, coming from so many divergent fields. This collection speaks very well to our present ambiguity about wilderness and wildness, and what we might do about it.”

—Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and The Tangled Bank

The Rediscovery of the Wild is an important and courageous book. It takes a con­vincing stand against the many forces that diminish both wilderness and the idea of wilderness and, in doing so, strip-mine the imagination and isolate the human spirit from the sources of its strengths and values. There is a difference, these essays tell us, between the call of the outdoors and the call of the wild—the redemptive howls of wind and wolves. May we humans listen with our soft ears and lonely hearts.”

—Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Wild Comfort

“The intrepid authors of The Rediscovery of the Wild fight a well-coordinated rear-guard skirmish against what one author perceptively characterizes as a postmod­ern tendency ‘of seeing wildness as a doddering concept on the brink of extinction.’ This book is an unapologetic old-school defense of what another author calls ‘The Old Rules.’ As we enter the brave new ‘Anthropocene,’ what are we getting in trade for the concept of wild Nature? These essays are a cautionary tale indeed.”

—J. Baird Callicott, University Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas

“That which is wild is not out of control, it is just out of our control, beyond our abil­ity to fully fathom with our thoughts. Yet we are made of this magic. Bereft of contact with wildness, the human mind loses its coherence, and the human heart ceases to beat. This fine volume opens an array of fresh and ferocious insights into this most vital dimension of the real.”

—David Abram, author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World

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