Cover: Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau, from Harvard University PressCover: Bird Relics in HARDCOVER

Bird Relics

Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau

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Product Details


$56.00 • £44.95 • €50.50

ISBN 9780674088474

Publication Date: 01/04/2016


480 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

47 halftones, 2 line illustrations


  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: On Affirmative Reading, or The Lesson of the Chickadees
  • Part I. Dyonisia, 467 BC: The Mythology of Mourning
    • Introduction: Perpetual Grief and the Example of the Fish Hawks
    • Literal Sounds
    • Homer’s Music Box
    • Aeschylus’s Paean
    • Cemeteries of the Brain
    • Pindar’s Doubles
    • Odysseus, the Lyric, and the Call of the Dead
    • The Sound Dream
    • Coda: Melville’s Seafowls
  • Part II. Cambridge, Massachusetts, circa 1837: The Science of Life
    • Introduction: Harvard Vitalism and the Way of the Loon
    • Birds
    • Fossils
    • Stones
    • Photographs
    • Swamps, Leaves, Galls: A Treatise on Decay
    • Coda: Antigone’s Birds
  • Part III. Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts, 1845: Epistemology of Change
    • Introduction: On Embodied Knowledge and the Deliberation of the Crow
    • Toward Things as They Are
    • Thinking with Geological Velocity
    • How to Greet a Tree?
    • Contemplating Matter
    • The Noontime of the Mind
    • Thinking with the Body 1: Walking
    • Thinking with the Body 2: Sitting
    • Personhood: Who or What?
    • Coda: Benjamin’s Seagulls
  • Part IV. Ossossané Village, Ontario, 1636: Acts of Recollecting
    • Introduction: The Ethics of Communal Mourning and the Flight of the Turtle Dove
    • Deathways of Things
    • Ragged Fragments and Vital Relics
    • The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead
    • Coda: Pythagoras’s Birds
  • Appendix I. Freud and Benjamin on Nature in Mourning
  • Appendix II. On Thoreau’s Grave
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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