Dr. John Dolis, professor of English at Penn State Worthington Scranton, has recently published Tracking Thoreau: Double-Crossing Nature and Technology, a book which explores the constellation of three ideas central to Thoreau's writings: nature, culture, and technology. Dr. Dolis reads Thoreau's major works as principally concerned with the composition of the self through writing, through narration, an activity essentially bound up with structures common to both nature and culture, and which implicate style—that is, "technology." Arguing against the most recent trend in Thoreau studies, Dolis contends that, for Thoreau, nature is primordially a construct: it cannot be understood apart from language, through cultural constructions, techniques by means of which the subject "composes" not only culture but nature as well. Dr. Dolis's previous books include The Style of Hawthorne's Gaze: Regarding Subjectivity, Bl( )nk Space and Time Flies: Butterflies. He presently serves on the editorial boards of the Arizona Quarterly, the Journal of American Culture, and the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review.
April 27, 2006