John Muir and the Sublime: Envisioning Essay

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John Muir and the Sublime: Envisioning the Conservation of the Modern Nation

The sublime, "it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling" (Burke, 1757, p 32). If one has ever seen the Yosemite Valley in person, it is no mystery as to how John Muir believed that it held the greatest level of sublimity any area of the United States could wield. The cascading waterfalls, sheer rock cliffs, and beautiful rolling valleys are astonishingly beautiful, yet incredibly wild and rugged. However, the modern eye may not have had the opportunity to witness such majestic beauty if it were not for the work of one man -- John Muir. He was the true father of conservation, and spent his time thoroughly documenting and writing about the Sierra Nevada Mountains in order to help try and raise an effort to conserve one of America's most surreal wildernesses. In his articles, Muir paints a very vivid picture in order to show the sublime nature of the wilderness he loved; in his rhetoric, he truly touches on the amazement he felt from such a beautiful, yet wild place. He held a great respect for the amazing, yet dangerous, wilderness, which he often described with religious undertones to truly capture the awe and respect for some of God's greatest handiwork.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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John Muir was crucial in the development of the modern sense of national conservancy for our greatest environmental treasures here in the United States. Before his work, the United States had an underlying consciousness that believed everything was for the taking. All the natural resources of its newly acquired lands were not to be preserved, but used to help the growing nation further its massive industrial dreams and aspirations. John Muir began visiting some of the United States most reassured natural environments and spreading the word about how these beautiful places needed to be preserved so that future generations could be able to see and relish their beauty. Together with the Sierra Club that he established, Muir fought long and hard to generate a greater consciousness for conservation. His most favorite places were located in the vast and wild wilderness of the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges in California. Muir's great passion for the mountain ranges of Eastern and Northern California helped set up national parks to preserve areas like the Yosemite Valley and the Sequoias. Both were established with the 1890 passing of the National Park Bill, a monumental piece of legislation that changed the nature in conservancy here in the United States. This was one of the first pieces of legislation that began to show concern for the preservation of America's wilderness, and not the need to use up the abundance of natural resources these wildernesses contain for further pushes towards a greater industrial era. Muir was fundamental in the beginning of a change of consciousness towards greater respect and admiration for the natural wonders of this country.

Without his persuasive and vivid writing style, places like Yosemite Valley might very well have been diminished and turned into industrial lumber mills or modern development sites. John Muir had a passion and flare for writing, which he then used to generate numerous articles and books about the wonderful nature of the American wilderness. Muir wrote articles to interest people about conservation. He wrote to an eastern audience, those who had normally never set foot in the western wilderness, and who had definitely never seen the beautiful landscape of the Yosemite Valley and surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range. As such, this molded his unique writing style. He wrote in very vivid language to help paint a very clear image in the minds of those he was trying to convince to help his effort in increasing the United State's promise of conservation. In his articles, Muir provided incredibly detailed descriptions are combined with vivid imagery in order to paint a clear and undeniable image of the pristine and sublime wilderness Muir was so taken aback by. He combines literal information about the landscape, such as height… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

John Muir and the Sublime: Envisioning.  (2012, October 9).  Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

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"John Muir and the Sublime: Envisioning."  9 October 2012.  Web.  17 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"John Muir and the Sublime: Envisioning."  October 9, 2012.  Accessed September 17, 2021.