Edward Abbey
Overview
 
Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

, criticism of public land
Public land
In all modern states, some land is held by central or local governments. This is called public land. The system of tenure of public land, and the terminology used, varies between countries...

 policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 The Monkey Wrench Gang
The Monkey Wrench Gang
The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey , published in 1975.Easily Abbey's most famous fiction work, the novel concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest, and was so influential that the term "monkeywrench"...

, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups
Radical environmentalism
Radical environmentalism, is a grassroots branch of the larger environmental movement that emerged out of an ecocentrism-based frustration with the co-option of mainstream environmentalism...

, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire
Desert Solitaire
This article is about the book. For the album dedicated to Edward Abbey see Desert Solitaire .Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness is a literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey , published originally in 1968....

. Writer Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
Larry Jeff McMurtry is an American novelist, essayist, bookseller and screenwriter whose work is predominantly set in either the old West or in contemporary Texas...

 referred to Abbey as the "Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

 of the American West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

".
Abbey was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana is a borough in and the county seat of Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 14,895 at the 2000 census.The borough and the region as a whole promotes itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" because the national Christmas Tree Grower's Association was...

 on January 29, 1927 to Mildred Postle wait and Paul Revere Abbey.
Discussions
Quotations

My job is to save the fucking wilderness. I don't know anything else worth saving.

George Hayduke|George Hayduke in The Monkey Wrench Gang|The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), p. 200

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothing can beat teamwork.

Seldom Seen Smith in The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), p. 313

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now.

Abbey's Road (1979)

We're all undesirable elements from somebody's point of view.

Abbey's Road (1979)

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)

Without courage, all other virtues are useless.

Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951-1989 (1994)

We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.

The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)

I'd sooner exchange ideas with the birds on earth than learn to carry on intergalactic communications with some obscure race of humanoids on a satellite planet from the world of Betelgeuse.

"The First Morning" (p. 7)

Encyclopedia
Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

, criticism of public land
Public land
In all modern states, some land is held by central or local governments. This is called public land. The system of tenure of public land, and the terminology used, varies between countries...

 policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 The Monkey Wrench Gang
The Monkey Wrench Gang
The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey , published in 1975.Easily Abbey's most famous fiction work, the novel concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest, and was so influential that the term "monkeywrench"...

, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups
Radical environmentalism
Radical environmentalism, is a grassroots branch of the larger environmental movement that emerged out of an ecocentrism-based frustration with the co-option of mainstream environmentalism...

, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire
Desert Solitaire
This article is about the book. For the album dedicated to Edward Abbey see Desert Solitaire .Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness is a literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey , published originally in 1968....

. Writer Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
Larry Jeff McMurtry is an American novelist, essayist, bookseller and screenwriter whose work is predominantly set in either the old West or in contemporary Texas...

 referred to Abbey as the "Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

 of the American West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

".

Early life and education

Abbey was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana is a borough in and the county seat of Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 14,895 at the 2000 census.The borough and the region as a whole promotes itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" because the national Christmas Tree Grower's Association was...

 on January 29, 1927 to Mildred Postle wait and Paul Revere Abbey. Mildred was a schoolteacher and a church organist, and gave Abbey an appreciation for classical music and literature. Paul was a socialist, anarchist, and atheist whose views strongly influenced Abbey.

Abbey graduated from high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 in Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Indiana is a borough in and the county seat of Indiana County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 14,895 at the 2000 census.The borough and the region as a whole promotes itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" because the national Christmas Tree Grower's Association was...

 in 1945. Eight months before his 18th birthday, when he would be faced with being drafted into the United States military, Abbey decided to explore the American southwest. He travelled by foot, bus, hitchhiking
Hitchhiking
Hitchhiking is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other road vehicle to travel a distance that may either be short or long...

, and freight train hopping. During this trip he fell in love with the desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 country of the Four Corners region. Abbey wrote:
"[...]crags and pinnacles of naked rock, the dark cores of ancient volcanoes, a vast and silent emptiness smoldering with heat, color, and indecipherable significance, above which floated a small number of pure, clear, hard-edged clouds. For the first time, I felt I was getting close to the West of my deepest imaginings, the place where the tangible and the mythical became the same."

Upon his return, Abbey was drafted into the military, where he served two years as a military police officer in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, after which he was honorably discharged.

When he returned to the United States, Abbey took advantage of the G.I. Bill to attend the University of New Mexico
University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico at Albuquerque is a public research university located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States. It is the state's flagship research institution...

, where he received a B.A. in philosophy and English in 1951, and a Master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in philosophy in 1956. During his time in college, Abbey supported himself by working at a variety of odd jobs, including being a newspaper reporter and bartending in Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico
Taos is a town in Taos County in the north-central region of New Mexico, incorporated in 1934. As of the 2000 census, its population was 4,700. Other nearby communities include Ranchos de Taos, Cañon, Taos Canyon, Ranchitos, and El Prado. The town is close to Taos Pueblo, the Native American...

. During this time, he had few male friends, but had intimate relationships with a number of women. Shortly before getting his bachelors degree, Abbey married his first wife, Jean Schmechal (another UNM student). While an undergraduate, Abbey was the editor of a student newspaper in which he published an article titled "Some Implications of Anarchy". A cover quotation of the article, "ironically attributed to Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Little Women was set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, and published in 1868...

" stated "Man will never be free until the last king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

 is strangled with the entrails of the last priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

." University officials seized all of the copies of the issue, and removed Abbey from the editorship of the paper. Abbey had an FBI file opened on him in 1947, after he posted a letter while in college urging people to rid themselves of their draft cards.

After graduating, Schmechal and Abbey traveled together to Edinburgh, Scotland, where Abbey spent a year at Edinburgh University as a Fulbright scholar. During this time, Abbey and Schmechal separated and ended their marriage. In 1951 Abbey began having an affair with Rita Deanin, who in 1952 would become his second wife after he and Schmechal divorced. Deanin and Abbey had two children, Joshua N. Abbey and Aaron Paul Abbey.

Abbey's master's thesis explored anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 and the morality of violence
Morality of violence
In ethics, questions regarding the morality of violence ask under what conditions, if any, the use of violence can be morally justified.Three prominent views on the morality of violence are the pacifist position, which states that violence is always immoral, and should never be used; the...

, asking the two questions: "To what extent is the current association between anarchism and violence
Anarchism and violence
Anarchism and violence have become closely connected in popular thought, in part because of a concept of "propaganda of the deed". Propaganda of the deed, or attentát, was espoused by a number of leading anarchists in the late nineteenth century, and was associated with a number of incidents of...

 warranted?" and "In so far as the association is a valid one, what arguments have the anarchists presented, explicitly or implicitly, to justify the use of violence?". After receiving his masters degree, Abbey spent 1957 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 on a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship.

Work for National Park Service

In 1956 and 1957, Abbey worked as a seasonal ranger
Park ranger
A park ranger or forest ranger is a person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks. Different countries use different names for the position. Ranger is the favored term in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Within the United...

 for the United States National Park Service at Arches National Monument (now a national park), near the town of Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah
Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah, in the western United States. The population was 4,779 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Grand County. Moab hosts a large number of tourists every year, mostly visitors to the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks...

. Abbey's held the position from April to September each year, during which time he maintained trails, greeted visitors, and collected campground fees. He lived in a house trailer that had been provided to him by the Park Service, as well as in a ramada that he built himself. During his stay at Arches, Abbey accumulated a large volume of notes and sketches which later formed the basis of his first non-fiction work, Desert Solitaire.

Abbey's second son Aaron was born in 1959, in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

.

In the 1960s Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a U.S. National Monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in extreme southern Arizona which shares a border with the Mexican state of Sonora. The park is the only place in the United States where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild...

, on the border of Arizona and Mexico.

On October 16, 1965 Abbey married Judy Pepper, who accompanied Abbey as a seasonal park ranger in the Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

, and then as a fire lookout in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a United States National Park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak; the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range...

. Judy was separated from Abbey for extended periods of time while she attended the University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

 to get her master's degree. During this time, Abbey slept with other women—something that Judy gradually became aware of, causing their marriage to suffer. On August 8, 1968 Pepper gave birth to a daughter, Susannah "Susie" Mildred Abbey. Ed purchased the family a home in Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon is a significant canyon located in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona, USA. Sabino Canyon is a popular recreation area for residents and visitors of Southern Arizona, providing a place to walk, hike or ride. Minutes away from the...

, outside of Tucson. Judy died of leukemia
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 on July 11, 1970, an event that crushed Abbey, causing him to go into "bouts of depression and loneliness" for years. It was to Judy that he dedicated his book Black Sun. However, the book was not an autobiographical novel about his relationship with Judy. Rather it was a story about a woman with whom Abbey had an affair in 1963. Abbey finished the first draft of Black Sun in 1968, two years before Judy died, and it was "a bone of contention in their marriage".

Desert Solitaire, Abbey's fourth book and first non-fiction work, was published in 1968. In it, he describes his stay in the canyonlands of southeastern Utah from 1956-1957. Desert Solitaire is regarded as one of the finest nature narratives
Nature writing
Nature writing is generally defined as nonfiction prose writing about the natural environment. Nature writing often draws heavily on scientific information and facts about the natural world; at the same time, it is frequently written in the first person and incorporates personal observations of and...

 in American literature, and has been compared to Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold was an American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac , which has sold over two million copies...

's A Sand County Almanac
A Sand County Almanac
A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There is a 1949 non-fiction book by American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Describing the land around the author's home in Sauk County, Wisconsin, the collection of essays advocate Leopold's idea of a "land ethic", or a...

and Thoreau's Walden
Walden
Walden is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau...

. In it, Abbey vividly describes the physical landscapes of Southern Utah and delights in his isolation as a back country park ranger, recounting adventures in the nearby canyon country and mountains. He also attacks what he terms the "industrial tourism" and resulting development in the national parks ("national parking lots"), rails against the Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona in the United States, just north of Page. The dam was built to provide hydroelectricity and flow regulation from the upper Colorado River Basin to the lower. Its reservoir is called Lake Powell, and is the second...

, and comments on various other subjects.

Later life

Abbey met his fifth and final wife, Clark Cartwright in 1978, and married her in 1982. Together they had two children, Rebecca Claire Abbey and Benjamin C. Abbey.

In 1984, Abbey went back to the University of Arizona to teach. During this time, he continued working on his book Fool's Progress.

In July 1987, Abbey went to the Earth First! Rendezvous at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While there, he was involved in a heated debate over his views on immigration, with an anarchist communist group known as Alien Nation
Alien Nation
Alien Nation may refer to:* Alien Nation , the 1988 motion picture, and several spin-off properties:** Alien Nation , the 1989–1990 television series, and five made-for-TV movies that continue its story:...

. Abbey devoted an entire chapter in his book Hayduke Lives
Hayduke Lives
Hayduke Lives! , written in 1989 by Edward Abbey, is the sequel to the popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang. It was published posthumously in 1990.-Plot summary:...

to the events that took place at the Rendezvous. In autumn of 1987, the Utne Reader
Utne Reader
Utne Reader is an American bimonthly magazine. The magazine collects and reprints articles on politics, culture, and the environment from generally alternative media sources, including journals, newsletters, weeklies, zines, music and DVDs...

published a letter by Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

 which claimed that Abbey, Garrett Hardin
Garrett Hardin
Garrett James Hardin was an American ecologist who warned of the dangers of overpopulation and whose concept of the tragedy of the commons brought attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment"...

, and the members of Earth First! were racists
Racists
Racists is a 2006 novel by Kunal Basu about a scientific experiment in the mid-19th century in which a white girl and a black boy are raised together as savages on a small uninhabited island off the coast of Africa...

 and eco-terrorists. Abbey was extremely offended, and demanded a public apology, stating that he was neither racist nor a supporter of terrorism. All three of those Bookchin labelled "racist" opposed illegal immigration into the United States, contending that population growth would cause further harm to the environment. Regarding the accusation of "eco-terrorism", Abbey responded that the tactics he supported were trying to defend against the terrorism he felt was committed by government and industry against living beings and the environment.

Death and burial

Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989, at the age of 62, in his home in Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

. His death was due to complications from surgery; he suffered four days of esophageal hemorrhaging, due to esophageal varices
Esophageal varices
In medicine , esophageal varices are extremely dilated sub-mucosal veins in the lower esophagus...

, a recurrent problem with one group of veins. Showing his sense of humor, he left a message for anyone who asked about his final words: "No comment." Abbey also left instructions on what to do with his remains: Abbey wanted his body transported in the bed of a pickup truck, and wished to be buried as soon as possible. He did not want to be embalmed or placed in a coffin
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

. Instead, he preferred to be placed inside of an old sleeping bag, and requested that his friends disregard all state laws concerning burial. "I want my body to help fertilize the growth of a cactus or cliff rose or sagebrush or tree." said the message. For his funeral, Abbey stated "No formal speeches desired, though the deceased will not interfere if someone feels the urge. But keep it all simple and brief." He requested gunfire and bagpipe music, a cheerful and raucous wake, "[a]nd a flood of beer and booze! Lots of singing, dancing, talking, hollering, laughing, and lovemaking."

A 2003 Outside article described how his friends honored his request:

"The last time Ed smiled was when I told him where he was going to be buried," says Doug Peacock
Doug Peacock
Doug Peacock is an American naturalist, outdoorsman, and author. He is best known for his book Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness, a memoir of his experiences in the 1970s and 1980s, much of which was spent alone in the wilderness of the western United States observing grizzly...

, an environmental crusader in Edward Abbey's inner circle. On March 14, 1989, the day Abbey died from esophageal bleeding at 62, Peacock, along with his friend Jack Loeffler, his father-in-law Tom Cartwright, and his brother-in-law Steve Prescott, wrapped Abbey's body in his blue sleeping bag, packed it with dry ice, and loaded Cactus Ed into Loeffler's Chevy pickup. After stopping at a liquor store in Tucson for five cases of beer, and some whiskey to pour on the grave, they drove off into the desert. The men searched for the right spot the entire next day and finally turned down a long rutted road, drove to the end, and began digging. That night they buried Ed and toasted the life of America's prickliest and most outspoken environmentalist.


Abbey's body was buried in the Cabeza Prieta Desert
Cabeza Prieta Wilderness
The Cabeza Prieta Wilderness is located in the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona in the United States. Cabeza Prieta Wilderness Area has the distinction of being Arizona's largest Wilderness Area, encompassing nearly 93 percent of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and covering —larger...

 in Pima County, Arizona
Pima County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*74.3% White*3.5% Black*3.3% Native American*2.6% Asian*0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.7% Two or more races*12.4% Other races*34.6% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, where "you'll never find it." The friends carved a marker on a nearby stone, reading:

EDWARD
PAUL

ABBEY

1927—1989
No Comment


In late March, about 200 friends of Abbey's gathered near the Saguaro National Monument near Tucson and held the wake he requested. A second, much larger wake was held in May, just outside his beloved Arches National Park, with such notables as Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams , is an American author, conservationist and activist.Williams’ writing is rooted in the American West and has been significantly influenced by the arid landscape of her native Utah in which she was raised...

 and Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays...

 speaking.

Abbey is survived by two daughters, Susannah and Becky; and three sons, Joshua, Aaron and Benjamin.

Literature

Abbey's literary influences included Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold was an American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac , which has sold over two million copies...

, Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder is an American poet , as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist . Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry...

, Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

, and A.B. Guthrie, Jr.. Although often compared to authors like Thoreau or Aldo Leopold, Abbey did not wish to be known as a nature writer, saying that he didn't understand "why so many want to read about the world out-of-doors, when it's more interesting simply to go for a walk into the heart of it." The theme that most interested Abbey was that of the struggle for personal liberty against the totalitarian techno-industrial state, with wilderness being the backdrop in which this struggle took place.

Regarding his writing style, Abbey states: "I write in a deliberately provocative and outrageous manner because I like to startle people. I hope to wake up people. I have no desire to simply soothe or please. I would rather risk making people angry than putting them to sleep. And I try to write in a style that's entertaining as well as provocative. It's hard for me to stay serious for more than half a page at a time." Abbey felt that it was the duty of all authors to "speak the truth--especially unpopular truth. Especially truth that offends the powerful, the rich, the well-established, the traditional, the mythic".

Abbey's abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism describes the tendency for human beings to regard themselves as the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective....

, and outspoken writings made him the object of much controversy. Agrarian author Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays...

 claimed that Abbey was regularly criticized by mainstream environmental groups because Abbey often advocated controversial positions that were very different from those which environmentalists were commonly expected to hold.

It is often stated that Abbey's works played a significant role in precipitating the creation of Earth First!
Earth First!
Earth First! is a radical environmental advocacy group that emerged in the Southwestern United States in 1979. It was co-founded on April 4th, 1980 by Dave Foreman, Mike Roselle, Howie Wolke, and less directly, Bart Koehler and Ron Kezar....

. The Monkeywrench Gang inspired environmentalists frustrated with mainstream environmentalist groups and what they saw as unacceptable compromises. Earth First!
Earth First!
Earth First! is a radical environmental advocacy group that emerged in the Southwestern United States in 1979. It was co-founded on April 4th, 1980 by Dave Foreman, Mike Roselle, Howie Wolke, and less directly, Bart Koehler and Ron Kezar....

 was formed as a result in 1980, advocating eco-sabotage or "monkeywrenching." Although Abbey never officially joined the group, he became associated with many of its members, and occasionally wrote for the organization

Fiction

  • Jonathan Troy
    Jonathan Troy
    Jonathan Troy was Edward Abbey's first published novel, as detailed in James M. Cahalan's biography of Abbey. Only 5,000 copies were printed and almost immediately after it was released the author wanted to disown the work...

    (1954) (ISBN 1-131-40684-2)
  • The Brave Cowboy
    The Brave Cowboy
    The Brave Cowboy was Edward Abbey's second published novel, as detailed in . The first-edition of the book is considered the rarest of Abbey's eight novels. There was only one printing of 5,000 copies and many of them have not survived. One online rare book dealer shows copies of the first U.S...

    (1956) (ISBN 0-8263-0448-6)
  • Fire on the Mountain
    Fire on the Mountain (novel)
    Fire on the Mountain is a 1962 novel by Edward Abbey. It was Abbey's third published novel and followed Jonathan Troy and The Brave Cowboy....

    (1962) (ISBN 0-8263-0457-5)
  • Black Sun (1971) (ISBN 0-88496-167-2)
  • The Monkey Wrench Gang
    The Monkey Wrench Gang
    The Monkey Wrench Gang is a novel written by American author Edward Abbey , published in 1975.Easily Abbey's most famous fiction work, the novel concerns the use of sabotage to protest environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest, and was so influential that the term "monkeywrench"...

    (1975) (ISBN 0-397-01084-2)
  • Good News (1980) (ISBN 0-525-11583-8)
  • The Fool's Progress
    The Fool's Progress
    Edward Abbey's "fat masterpiece" and a classic of 20th-century Americana, the 1989 publication of The Fool's Progress heralded the final word of one of the country's finest prose artists and defenders of freedom and wilderness....

    (1988) (ISBN 0-8050-0921-3)
  • Hayduke Lives
    Hayduke Lives
    Hayduke Lives! , written in 1989 by Edward Abbey, is the sequel to the popular book The Monkey Wrench Gang. It was published posthumously in 1990.-Plot summary:...

    (1989) (ISBN 0-316-00411-1)
  • Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994) (ISBN 0-312-11265-3)

Non-fiction

  • Desert Solitaire
    Desert Solitaire
    This article is about the book. For the album dedicated to Edward Abbey see Desert Solitaire .Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness is a literary nonfiction work by Edward Abbey , published originally in 1968....

    : A Season in the Wilderness
    (1968) (ISBN 0-8165-1057-1)
  • Appalachian Wilderness (1970)
  • Slickrock (1971) (ISBN 0-87156-051-8)
  • Cactus Country (1973)
  • The Journey Home (1977) (ISBN 0-525-13753-X)
  • The Hidden Canyon (1977)
  • Abbey's Road (1979) (ISBN 0-525-05006-X)
  • Desert Images (1979)
  • Down the River
    Down the River
    Down the River is a book by Edward Abbey, published in 1982. It is a loose collection of autobiographical and philosophical essays about the wilderness, written between 1978 and 1982....

     (with Henry Thoreau & Other Friends)
    (1982) (ISBN 0-525-09524-1)
  • In Praise of Mountain Lions (1984)
  • Beyond the Wall (1984) (ISBN 0-03-069299-7)
  • One Life at a Time, Please (1988) (ISBN 0-8050-0602-8)
  • A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes from a Secret Journal (1989)
  • Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey, 1951–1989 (1994) (ISBN 0-316-00415-4)

Letters

  • Cactus Chronicles published by Orion Magazine, Jul–Aug 2006 (no longer active,)
  • Postcards from Ed (book)|Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast (2006) (ISBN 1-57131-284-6)

Anthologies

  • Slumgullion Stew: An Edward Abbey Reader (1984)
  • The Best of Edward Abbey (1984)
  • The Serpents of Paradise: A Reader (1995)

External links

  • AbbeyWeb - information about Edward Abbey and his books
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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