where many readers will be very content.”nIn four short sentences Horgannidentified the essence of Joseph WoodnKrutch’s appeal as a “nature writer,” innwhom the adventurer or even travelernwas not lacking but in whom also thenarmchair naturalist and essayist predominated.nOf the three volumes reviewednin this space, The ForgottennPeninsula comes closest to being antravel book without ever becomingnmuch of one, despite its account ofnsome fairly strenuous trips by fourwheel-drivenvehicle along the partiallynexistent roads of Baja, California, innthe 50’s. Where Edward Abbey, say,nwould place such experiences near thendramatic center of his book, JosephnKrutch, by contrast, handles them almostnperfunctorily, much preferring tonwrite about what he found upon arrivalnat his botanical destination, and then tonexplain in detail what were the implicationsnof the trip for a scientific understandingnof how fast the boojum treengrows, how its seeds germinate, andnwhy it has never moved above the BajanPeninsula into the northern reaches ofnthe Lower Sonoran Desert. Maybenbecause he had spent the better part ofna lifetime studying the human dramanthrough its depiction by other humannbeings, Krutch appears to have detachednhis dramatic imagination fromnthese things, and to have reattachednthem to the dramatic potentialities ofnnature.nTo a greater degree perhaps thannany other Western literary form,nthe drama has associated itself with thenclash of moral oppositions, with moralndilemma, and with moral paradox. So itncomes as no great surprise that Mr.nKrutch’s greatest strength as a naturenwriter is his dramatic juxtaposition ofnthe appropriate moral claims of naturenwith the just ones of mankind. Yet thatnjuxtaposition is never treated in thenassertive manner of the writer of moralitynplays, but rather with the delicatenproblematical sensitivity of one whonhappens to be a rather accomplishednamateur naturalist as well as a giftednprofessional humanist. It is this aspect ofnhis work, moreover, that makes Krutchnin many ways the conservative’s “environmentalist,”ncombining as he doesncontemporary concerns with traditionalnprinciples and habits of thought. In hisnwriting, as he was (from all accounts) inn36/CHRONICLESnhis person, Joseph Wood Krutch remainsnthe urbane and polished classicist,nas opposed to the rural romantic, whichncertainly sets him at a distinct removenfrom most of the far more abrasiven”environmentalist” writers who were tonfollow. The extremism of many of thesenpeople appears never to have temptednMr. Krutch, who insisted only that thenbalance of nature should include ancorresponding balance between mennand nature.nStill, I expect that Krutch’s argumentnwill remain radical enough fornmany present-day conservatives, particularlynthe “neoconservatives” andnthose mainline Republicans who findnthe George Bush administration to bena satisfactory affair. Here, for instance,nis Krutch (in The Forgotten Peninsula)ncontemplating the Western notion ofntechnological “progress,” of unlimitedneconomic growth, and the global populationnexplosion:nBeing but little versed innpolitical science or sociology, Inasked several specialists whethernthey knew of any attempt evennto raise the question hownpopulous, how mechanized,nhow complicated, and hownabundant a society should be ifnwhat we want most is notnnumbers, mechanization,ncomplexity, and abundance forntheir own sakes but the best lifenpossible for a creature who hasnthe needs, the preferences andnthe potentialities of the humannbeing. I drew blanks in everyninstance except one when I wasnadvised to consult Aristotle’sn”Politics”. . . .nIn Grand Canyon Krutch speculatesnon the possibility that modern man hasnindeed “grown” beyond his originalnaffinity with nature, with which he nonlonger feels a need for either harmonynor intercourse. It is true, he admits, thatnthere appears to be mounting evidencenfor this conclusion, but it is also truenthat there is almost certain to remain anremnant for whom the presence ofnnature will be an essential part of theirnlives. (“The wilderness and the idea ofnwilderness is one of the permanentnhomes of the human spirit.”) Furthermore:n”Does to experience [solitudenand quietness] even occasionally provokenthoughts and suggest values notnnnonly significant in themselves but likelynto provide critical insights into civilizationnwhich may influence favorably thencourse it takes?” And Krutch providesna wonderful quotation from J. FranknDobie that I had never read before:nMany times I have taught thatnthe greatest happiness possiblento a man—probably not to anwoman — is to become civilized,nto know the pageant of the past,nto love the beautiful, to havenjust ideas of values andnproportions, and then, retainingnhis animal spirits and appetites,nto live in a wilderness wherennature is congenial, with a fewnbarbarisms to affordnpicturesqueness and humannrelations. According to this idealncivilization is necessary to givenman a perspective; but it isnotherwise either a merensubstitution for primitiveness ornelse a background to flee from.nSuch a man, ideally happy, Dobie concludes,nhas succeeded in substitutingn”campfires for ivory towers.”nIn another respect too, Joseph WoodnKrutch was a radical so much in advancenof his time as to have put himna little — perhaps only just a little —nahead of our own as well. As hisndescription of the geological creation ofnthe Grand Canyon {Grand Ganyon,npp. 42-43) makes plain, when mannworries about the effects his activitiesnare producing in nature, it is his ownnfuture that he is actually concerned for,nnot the planet’s. “The sun alsonariseth. . . .” As in the Hemingwaynnovel, the hero in this drama, when thentext is perceived from this particularnpoint of view, is not mankind but thenearth, which endureth, if not forever,nthen at least for ever where man himselfnis concerned. So far as I have read,neven the folks at Earth First! havenfailed to recognize — at least to say—nas much. One wonders why, since theynshould be almost the only peoplenaround to find solace in the humanlyngrim proposition that the GreenhousenEffect theory and its earthly proponentsnare offering us. n