Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Season in the Wilderness with Edward Abbey

For February 2013, PVNWG blasts away the chill with Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire. First published in 1968, the book became the focus of a nationwide cult.  Rude and sensitive, thought provoking and mystical, angry and loving, both Abbey and his book are all of these and more. The book vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah--the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty.  But it is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as the tourist industry.

Edward Abbey was born in Home, Pennsylvania, in 1927. He was educated at the University of Mexico and the University of Edinburgh.  When Edward Abbey died in 1989 at the age of sixty-two, the American West lost one of its most eloquent and passionate advocates. Through his novels, essays, letters and speeches, Edward Abbey consistently voiced the belief that the West was in danger of being developed to death, and that the only solution lay in the preservation of wilderness. Abbey authored twenty-one books in his lifetime, including Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, The Brave Cowboy, and The Fool's Progress. His comic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang helped inspire a whole generation of environmental activism. A writer in the mold of Twain and Thoreau, Abbey was a larger-than-life figure as big as the West itself.

Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

For more on all things Abbey visit Abbey's Web.

Sources: Cover, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, First Touchstone Edition, 1990; Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness, video, 1993; Abbey's Web,

1 comment:

  1. Not playing Solitaire on your mobile? Download From This Cool Link (Available for iOS and Android)