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Appalachian Pastoral

Mountain Excursions, Aesthetic Visions, and the Antebellum Travel Narrative

Michael S. Martin

Appalachian Pastoral rethinks how nineteenth-century travel narratives into Appalachia deliberately incorporate British landscape aesthetics as a mediating literary device with a somewhat inconceivable real-world environment and terrain. Martin argues that mid-nineteenth-century travel writers going through or from the Appalachian region drew on familiar versions of eighteenth-century European landscape aesthetics, which helped make the readerly experience less alien to their erudite regional and Northern audiences. These travel writers, such as Philip Pendleton Kennedy and David Hunter Strother, consciously appropriated such aesthetic tropes as the pastoral to further dramatic effect in their nonfiction accounts of Appalachia, while the reader could find such references comforting as they considered whether to domesticate or tour the Appalachian region.

About the Author

Michael S. Martin is currently an Associate Professor of English, Modern Languages, and Cultural Studies at Nicholls State University, in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He works in the fields of 19th-century American literature, Native American literature, Appalachian Studies, and colonial American literature. His current project traces a biographical and theoretical symmetry between Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne on silence and aurality in the 19th-century. Another recent project is a study of the way that sickness and exoticism functioned within the Louisiana section of William Bartram’s Travels (1791). Much of his writing has centered on portrayals of space and place in 19th-century American works, including recorded Cherokee orature from the 1890s.

Purchase from Liverpool UP


Pages: 208 pages

Published: September 2022


ISBN: 978-1-63804-018-7

ISBN: 978-1-80085-350-8




18th-Century Moments