Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

“A place untouched by man”: The Culture of Global Warming in the U.S. from Thoreau’s Walden through Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature to Don Henley and the “Eagles”

R.C. De Prospo.

The most taught book in the world, according to reliable statistics gathered by the Modern Languages Association in the U.S., is Henry David Thoreau's "Walden." The most influential book arguing in favor of the theory of Global Warming is Bill McKibben's "The End of Nature," which repeatedly cites Thoreau's "Walden" as its intellectual and spiritual forefather. The best-selling album in the world is "The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits," whose lead singer, Don Henley, cites as the inspiration for becoming a song-writer being taught Thoreau's "Walden" at West Texas State University, and who has become the leading U.S. celebrity ecologist, creating the program to "Save Walden Woods" which surround Thoreau's famous pond in Massachusetts.

I propose to trace some of the U.S. cultural traditions that lead to the current paradox of the U.S. being the source both of most of the pollution that causes global warming on the one hand, and also of some of the most powerful activists against global warming on the other.


R.C. De Prospo  (United States)
Professor of English
Department of English
Washington College of Maryland

I've taught English and American Studies at the College and University level at a number of US Institutions for almost 30 years. I've served as a consultant to several Eastern and Western European, and South and Central American Universities in establishing American Studies programs under the US State Department Specialist Grant program. I've published books on Jonathan Edwards and Harriet Beecher Stowe and many articles in Americanist and Literary Theory journals.

  • Culture
  • Global
  • Warming
Person as Subject
  • Thoreau, Henry David McKibben, Bill Henley, Don

(Virtual Presentation, English)