Trees, masculinity and national identity in American art and writing, c. 1820-1870

Asher Durand - Creative Commons

  • Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA

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A Historical Association and University of Plymouth History Department talk
North American artists and writers of the early and mid-19th Century were passionate about trees. They explored the ‘primeval’ forest wildernesses of New York State and Maine, with their massive white pines, and they were excited by the discovery of giant sequoias in California. 
In this talk, Professor Payne considers how far this interest in the trees of the wilderness was an expression of ideas about national identity and masculinity. For recent immigrants, or descendants of settlers who had escaped religious persecution in Europe, the relationship with native trees was a way of consolidating their ‘ownership’ of the American landscape. It could also be an escape from domesticity into the masculine realm of the trapper or lumberman. Artists and writers discussed will include Thomas Cole, Asher Brown Durand, Frederic Church, Henry David Thoreau and Albert Bierstadt.
Date: Tuesday 18 October 2022
Time: 19:00 – 20:20
Venue: Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building
Ticket information: standard £6 / concessions £4 / free to UoP students via SPiA / free for members of the Historical Association 
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