Book Publication

Christine Gerhardt. A Place for Humility: Whitman, Dickinson, and the Natural World. University of Iowa Press, 2014.


American Literary History (359.2 KB)(Online Review Series, July 2016)
Choice(175.4 KB) (February 2015)
Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 32.3(1.4 MB) (Winter 2015)
The New England Quarterly 88.2 (2015)
The Emily Dickinson Journal 24.1(215.0 KB) (2015)

“Gerhardt’s study is at once an exemplary contribution to the field of ecocriticism and a truly groundbreaking comparison of two of America’s greatest poets. Essential.”
– Choice

“The arguments of A Place for Humility clearly create a place for [Gerhardt’s] work among the very best Whitman scholarship and writing. [The book] makes all of [its] arguments in a clear, jargon-free prose style that is often a real pleasure to read. [...] As a close-reader, Gerhardt is balanced, generous, and sharply intelligent. She picks up details and turns them to account in sometimes surprising ways. [...] By bringing Whitman into the light shed by Dickinson, [she] illuminates new ways of reading the two poets together, rather than simply in opposition to on another. [...] Always respectful of previous scholarship and criticism, Gerhardt brings an important new perspective to the two greatest poets of nineteenth-century America.  Her view opens new possibilities of reading, renewing the vision of both the poets and their readers.” 
– Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 

“Winner of the 2015 Choice outstanding academic title, Christine Gerhardt’s A Place for Humility: Whitman, Dickinson, and the Natural World (2014) is an indispensable ecocritical study of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman that brings welcome and sophisticated attention to these writers’ complex representations of the natural world […]. It deserves the attention of both specialists in US poetry and environmental criticism, along with generalists looking for contemporary successors to landmark works like Roderick Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind (1967), Leo Marx’s The Machine and the Garden  (1964), and Angus Fletcher’s more recent A New Theory for American Poetry (2006).”
– American Literary History

“[T]his is a book that anyone working on ecocritical issues in nineteenth-century American literature would like to have written and that anyone interested in the question of how to confront and express ecological concerns in the twenty-first century will want to explore.”
– The New England Quarterly

“Readers wishing to broaden the ecocritical canon will welcome this searching, deeply informed and eloquent environmental reappraisal of Whitman and Dickinson, which puts environmental humility at the heart of their poetics and points the way to reading a far broader range of literature through contemporary debates in environmental science and politics.”
– Laura Dassow Walls, author of The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of AmericaEmerson's Life in Science: The Culture of Truth, and Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Natural Science

A Place for Humility supersedes all other books (including my own) as the best study of both Whitman’s and Dickinson’s nature poetry. No ecocritic, not even leaders in the field, brings a stronger comprehension of nineteenth-century proto-ecological discourse to such an extensive reading of the best poetry of the day, and no other scholar draws a stronger connection between two poets often considered polar opposites—Whitman and Dickinson—their mutual ecopoetics (and surprisingly even their gender politics) proving here a sturdy bridge that will bear enduring use for some time to come.”
– M. Jimmie Killingsworth, author of Walt Whitman and the Earth: A Study in Ecopoetics

CHOICE-Award for A Place for Humility