Emerson and the agricultural midworld

Agriculture and Human Values 7 (1):20-26 (1990)
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The metaphor of the “midworld” refers to Emerson's conception of the realm between the human process and nature. In his earlier writings, poetry served as a linguistic midworld that made it possible for the self to relate to the innumerable orders of nature. By the 1840's Emerson's thought had taken a much more skeptical turn and had moved decisively away from his earlier linguistic idealism. As a consequence, his conception of the nature of the midworld changed. The more humble work of the farmer came to represent more clearly the actual development of the midworld. In agricultural production, the basic features of nature became more directly available to the self. By the 1870's Emerson recognized that the farmer and the poet were both representatives of the midworld that made nature actual to the human process



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