This title is a variant of “eco-criticism,” which is itself a variant of literary “criticism.” The latter is humanistic. Eco-criticism critiques from the point of view of ecosystems. Geo-criticism critiques from the point of any of the earth science subdisiciplines, whether petrology, limnology, or meteorology. Ones that Thoreau cared far more about inWalden than ecology.
My previous book, Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science, was my first foray into this effort. Based on reviews, the literary critics have agreed that eco-criticism, per se, is now making room for geo-criticism. I extended this work to my present book, The Boatman, which features Thoreau as a pioneering river scientist.
Photo: I set up my engineering transit in the doorway of Thoreau’s house at Walden Pond. At his eye-level, I measured the horizontal and vertical cones of vision over the lake. This data is directly relevant to dozens of passages in his masterpiece.