Iuliu Ratiu’s essay “Land Surveying as a Poetic Exercise in Walden and ‘Walking'” appeared recently in The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies, N.S. Vol. 21, 2013.
Ratiu’s study contributes to recent scholarship analyzing the importance of land surveying to literary studies and shows that Thoreau’s interest and expertise in the “map genre” challenge the celebratory rhetoric of Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism. Part of a larger project which argues that space figurations play a fundamental role in Henry D. Thoreau’s numerous attempts to reform the American Self, this essay analyzes land surveying as a literary trope in Walden and “Walking.” Thus, Ratiu’s main concern is to show that Thoreau’s incorporation of land surveying into his literary texts amounts to a critique of the pervading ideology of antebellum America and to argue that his surveying skills reverberate through his writing in a way that responds to shifts in space and land configurations between colonial and antebellum America.
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