Wilderness Lost: The Religious Origins of the American Mind

                                                                                     (Susquehanna Univ Press, 1987)

How the story of the Children of Israel and their flight from Egypt across the Wilderness to Zion  became the central metaphor of the American experience.  The escape from illusion to reality has from the very start -- long before "The Matrix" --  been what Freedom is all about. To escape Egypt and head into the wilderness  was to escape the text and enter into that space "outside the text." This book traces the transformation of this idea of "wilderness" from its theological beginnings in the Old Testament into the central texts of American literature.

Chapters on early Puritan literature, on Edwards and the Great Awakening, on the Revolution, on the Transcendentalists,  on Mary Moody Emerson,  on Emerson, on Thoreau, on Melville, on Dickinson, on Holmes.