The Nature Writing of William and Adam Summer of Pomaria
The Summer brothers owned farms in Newberry and Lexington Counties, where they created veritable experimental stations for plants adapted to the southern climate. At its peak the nursery offered more than one thousand varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, figs, apricots, and grapes developed and chosen specifically for the southern climate, as well as offering an equal number of ornamentals, including four hundred varieties of repeat-blooming roses. The brothers experimented with and reported on sustainable farm practices, reforestation, land reclamation, soil regeneration, crop diversity rather than the prevalent cotton monoculture, and animal breeds accustomed to hot climates from Carolina to Central Florida.
Written over a span of two decades, their essays offer an impressive environmental ethic. By 1860 Adam had concluded that a person's treatment of nature is a moral issue. Sustainability and long-term goals, rather than get-rich-quick schemes, were key to this philosophy. The brothers' keen interest in literature is evident in the quality of their writing; their essays and sketches are always readable, sometimes poetic, and occasionally humorous and satiric. A representative sampling of their more-than-six hundred articles appear in this volume.
About the Authors
"Taking Root reveals something unexpected. This collection of essays drawn from antebellum southern periodicals reveals two geniuses of romantic American nature writing and agricultural letters, brothers William and Adam Summer of Pomaria. Editor James Kibler has selected writings that present the brothers in a variety of guises—as conservationists, ethical hunters, walking poets, scientific farmers, experimental plant breeders, and prophets warning against the ruin of nature."—David S. Shields, Carolina Distinguished Professor of English and chair, Carolina Gold Rice Foundation
"[Adam and William Summer] were farmers and students of farming, of crops and livestock, their knowledge both scientific and familiar. They were sound critics of farming and of human landscapes, their standards taken properly from the natural world and from Nature, the common mother of all us creatures, the Great Dame herself. By those standards they were strenuously indignant in the presence of any abuse of the land, and they were clearly in love with the works of Nature and of good farmers."—Wendell Berry, from the foreword
Other Titles by James E. Kibler, Jr.
Other Titles by Wendell Berry
Other Titles from Non Series