Janelle: Reading Notes

Nature:  Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times by Peter Coates… “Nature, like us, has a history”.  This book, although not a particularly enjoyable read, touches on an array of different historical concepts, religions, and categories responsible for building this complete history of nature.

  • Nature as a physical place
  • Nature as a collective phenomena
  • Nature as an essence, quality, or principle
  • Nature as an inspiration and guide
  • Nature as the opposite of culture

By identifying these aspects of nature Coates creates an informative tour of “intellectual forces” of Western Civilization.  Coates starts in Ancient Greek and Rome by stating this spot on the map is the bedrock for Western intellectual experience, and then continues to the Middle Ages stating the relationship between earlier societies and their physical environments was essentially passive.

I found myself reading and re-reading multiple pages during this book.  I’m glad this reading is split into two weeks, because starting Thursday night I’ll have to basically start over again.  I appreciate Coates’ memoirs, witty statements,  and adventures, but I agree with whoever said this book reads like a textbook.  I may have fallen asleep twice in my attempt to read the first three chapters… I also may have had to sit on my front porch, on the concrete step to keep awake during my second attempt.  The “jury” is still out on this one…

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