Wild nature or the garden : conservation themes in the forests of Tarzan and Herland/Ourland Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/q237hv07t

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  • At first glance, Edgar Rice Burroughs's wildly popular romantic fantasy novel, Tarzan of the Apes (1912), and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's feminist science fiction-utopian novel, Herland (1915), with its dystopian companion, With Her in Ourland (1916), may appear to have little in common. Tarzan celebrates the human connection with wild nature on a personal level and the freedom associated with a forest wilderness preserved in its natural state. Herland and Ourland, respectively, explore the benefits of the judicious but very intensive development of forests to meet human needs and the devastation that may ensue without careful land management, while emphasizing the importance of community and collective effort over individualism. Together, Tarzan and Herland/Ourland reflect the perspectives and concerns that characterized both the preservationist and utilitarian sides of the conservation movement during the Progressive Era. This paper examines how these two perspectives may be seen in the ways in which Burroughs and Gilman describe nature, forests, wilderness, and land use in Tarzan and Herland/Ourland; touches briefly on gender dynamics in the conservation movement; and explores in depth the ways in which characters and the societies they represent approach, interact with, and use forests.
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