No Hiding Place

Essays on the new nature and poetry

John Barnie

No Hiding Place

John Barnie

Distributed for University of Wales Press

155 pages | 1 table | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1996
Paper $8.00 ISBN: 9780708313428 Published September 1996 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only

During the past fifty years the Neo-Darwinian synthesis of evolutionary theory with genetics has provided us with a powerful new model of what nature is. The model has much to say about human behaviour too, largely as a result of revolutionary developments in palaeoanthropology and the new discipline of sociobiology.

The consequences for philosophy, religion and the humanities generally are profound, yet for most part those educated outside the sciences have remained aloof from the philosophical and ethical implications of Neo-Darwinism; or, recognizing the challenge to beliefs we would rather not reconsider, the response has been hostile.

This gap between the biological sciences, where some of the most exciting thinking about nature and human behaviour are taking place, and the humanities and the arts, where such thinking ought to be seized on imaginatively and integrated into our lives, is one of the more important aspects of what might be called the split personality of Western culture.

These essays represent attempts by someone trained in the humanities to understand the new nature and the intellectual restructuring which it insists that we make. Essays on nature are interspersed with others on poets, including R. S. Thomas, A. R. Ammons and Harry Martinson, who in various ways and to varying degrees have responded in this century to the pressures of the new thinking about nature on our lives.

1    What do we mean by nature?
2    Limits to imagination
3    Against the warehouse keepers
4    Fatalists of the new kind
5    The candle in the window
6    The age of the arthropods
7    Poetry and the new nature
8    A look at Gaia
9    King of the blues, poor man of American poetry
10  Realpolitik and Utopia
11  At the zoo
12  A walk along Corsons Inlet
13  A personal history of reading
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