|About the Book|
From reviews of the first edition:Scrupulous yet enjoyable literary criticism, and most enjoyable because it is so surefooted and so strongly practical: It helps you think about what you read about Florida.--St. Petersburg TimesSuggests how ourMoreFrom reviews of the first edition:Scrupulous yet enjoyable literary criticism, and most enjoyable because it is so surefooted and so strongly practical: It helps you think about what you read about Florida.--St. Petersburg TimesSuggests how our national imagination has seized upon one aspect of the South and found therein a richness that it can continue to mine.--Modern Fiction StudiesHighly recommended.--ChoiceFor Ernest Hemingway, the semitropics of Key West offered the last wild country- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings recaptured a sense of home at Cross Creek that she had not experienced since childhood- Henry James vacationed in Palm Beach and St. Augustine and was torn between the velvet air, the colour of the sea, the royal palms clustered here and there and his repugnance for the masses who transformed great hotels into Vanity Fair in full blast. They--along with others--came to Florida, and they expressed their experiences in poems, stories, and nonfiction.Beginning with the premise that Florida has been perceived in the American imagination as not merely a geographic region but an image, a garden, Eden-like, Rowe analyzes representative works of writers from the early national period to the present who were attracted to the state and who found it without parallel in the rest of the country.Arranged in roughly chronological order, the book opens with a chapter on Ralph Waldo Emersons soothing winter in St. Augustine in 1827 and moves on to accounts by Washington Irving of the Seminole Indian wars and by Harriet Beecher Stowe on the leisurely life-style she enjoyed in Florida after the Civil War. It concludes with a chapter on Wallace Stevens, who found the state an enchantress--erotic, willful, and seductive.Though the contour of the imaginative landscape gives way at times to a view of Florida as a haven for invalids and a playground for the rich, Rowe discovers that a singular image of the state persists and writes that the Land of Opportunity has been tempered and diverted by the languors of a tropical climate washed by the Gulf Stream and the balm of an always warm sun.Anne E. Rowe is professor of English at Florida State University and author of The Enchanted Country: Northern Writers in the South, 1865-1910.