ERIC Number: EJ864809
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
"Rejoicing in the Beauties of Nature": The Image of the Western Landscape during the Fur Trade
Oman, Kerry R.
Great Plains Quarterly, v29 n4 p301-316 Fall 2009
While traveling along the Platte River on May 18, 1834, William Marshall Anderson stopped to pick up a human skull bleaching in the prairie sunlight. Anderson was from Louisville, Kentucky, and had been sent west by his physician to accompany a fur-trade caravan to the Rocky Mountains in hopes of regaining lost physical strength. He came west not as a typical trader or trapper, but as an attentive observer. What Anderson lacked in physical strength and fortitude, he made up for with a commanding vernacular and lively imagination. Though seemingly separated from the outside world, men like Anderson, and the hundreds of men who went west for the fur trade from the 1820s through the 1840s, traveled during an era that prompted them to rejoice in their natural surroundings. Their writings were more than mere travel accounts outlining directions traveled, trapping or trading activities, and encounters with grizzly bears and Blackfeet Indians. They were astute observers operating amidst a rising romantic consciousness within eastern society. This essay explores how the writings of the western fur trade created a distinct image of the western landscape during the mountain man era.
Descriptors: Land Use, Geographic Regions, Physical Environment, United States History, United States Literature, Travel, Romanticism, Nineteenth Century Literature
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.unl.edu/plains
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A