I Won’t Go Back To Nature

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There is this entire literature of sentimentalizing the soil, and Nature in general.  Sentimentalizing the brute labor required to fructify the soil.  Think of Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Rousseau, Emerson, Thoreau.  You know, the whole nineteenth century Romanticism of it all.  I never really liked this impulse, as it always smacked to me of idealistic falsity, of insincerity.  Those who hate the world find solace in the Stone-Age.

And modernly we have Pearl Buck, with her odes to the Chinese peasant.  Never mind, of course, that that same saintly peasant would have stank to high heaven.  There may be a Good Earth, but there is also a Bad Earth, too, and Peal Buck never wrote that novel.

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