War Against The Beavers
Verena Andermatt Conley
of Minnesota Press, 2003
Waters Canoe Area
| Here's a familiar story: an urban
to "get away from it all" purchases a cabin and a hundred acres of
naively expecting to find peace and serenity in their private corner of
the natural world. In this case, the author is a Swiss emigre who grew
up reading adventure stories about the American wilderness and her
is a native New Yorker and weekend outdoorsman. Their "away from it
was two aging cabins on an acreage bordering the Boundary Waters Canoe
Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.
beaver pond?!" I exclaimed.
and peace and abandoning my ecological ideals, I was now ranting. I
a forest, but a clean forest with a sparkling creek and not one with
waters and trees lying around every which way and across the creek. I
no use for shavings all over the forest floor to absorb our footsteps!
I did not pay top dollar for a beaver pond!
|| Verena Andermatt Conley is an
author for such a book, being a scholarly professor of French language
and literature with texts like "Syncope:
The Philosophy of Rapture" to her credit. Her life on the
edge of the
wilderness, though, was more nature study and attempted appreciation
| "I never found in the North Woods the
adventures of my childhood heroes Chief Winnetou and Old Shatterhand,"
she writes. "I never found what I thought was the harmony advocated by
more modern writers. I discovered, however, that every order is fragile
and that harmony is fleeting."
The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist, Lispector, and Tsvetayeva
The Environment in Poststructuralist Thought
Cixous: Writing the Feminine
The incoveniences and conflicts inherent in rural
life are impediments
to the tranqulity Conley expected to find. Wild beaver, hungry insects
and irrepressible fungi challenge and rebuff attempts at human control,
teaching her a valuable lesson: "In nature an unpredictable element
would always reign."