University of Georgia Press, 1998 - 352 pages
Rural Hours (1850) is one of the earliest pieces of American nature writing and the first by a woman. This new edition, the only printing of the full original text since 1876, restores passages excised by the author for an 1887 edition.
The daughter of the novelist James Fenimore Cooper, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894), uses narratives and descriptions of her walks and excursions to reveal her ideal society as a rural one, carefully poised between the receding wilderness and a looming industrialization. She theorizes that knowledge of place causes people to approach the land humbly and gratefully and asserts the necessity of establishing a society that is sustainable in the natural world and that sees a moral obligation to deepen knowledge of the natural history of the environment.