The term “nature writing” conventionally refers to one particular category of nonfiction, rather than to the entire spectrum of literature about the natural world. Nature has, of course, like love, been a central topic for authors in every language and in nearly every form. Scholars who are interested in the broader range of genres thus sometimes prefer to use the term “environmental literature.” That said, nature writing remains a remarkable, vivid, and continuous strand within the fabric of American literature. Such continuity comes from the fact that, above all, this genre has been a conversation. Authors within the lineage often address each other directly, as well as emulate each other's postures, personas, and excursions. Nature writing is a sort of ongoing experiment, an investigation of how imaginative literature and close observation of natural phenomena can be integrated.Less
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