As Eve Said to the Serpent

On Landscape, Gender, and Art

Title Details

Pages: 240

Illustrations: 60 b&w photos

Trim size: 8.000in x 9.500in



Pub Date: 03/17/2003

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2493-7

List Price: $30.95

As Eve Said to the Serpent

On Landscape, Gender, and Art

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards

To Rebecca Solnit, the word "landscape" implies not only literal places, but also the ground on which we invent our lives and confront our innermost troubles and desires. The organic world, to Solnit, gives rise to the social, political, and philosophical landscapes we inhabit. As Eve Said to the Serpent skillfully weaves the natural world with the realm of art—its history, techniques, and criticism—to offer a remarkable compendium of Solnit's research and ruminations.

The nineteen pieces in this book range from the intellectual formality of traditional art criticism to highly personal, lyrical meditations. All are distinguished by Solnit's vivid, original style that blends imaginative associations with penetrating insights. These thoughts produce quirky, intelligent, and wryly humorous content as Solnit ranges across disciplines to explore nuclear test sites, the meaning of national borders, deserts, clouds, and caves—as well as ideas of the feminine and the sublime as they relate to our physical and psychological terrains.

Sixty images throughout the book display the work of the contemporary artists under discussion, including landscape photographers, performance artists, sculptors, and installation artists. Alongside her text, Solnit's gallery of images provides a vivid excursion into new ways of perceiving landscape, bodies, and art. Animals and the human body appear together with space and terra firma as Solnit reconfigures the blurred lines that define nature.

Thought-provoking and often epigrammatic . . . Reading Solnit's various and vigorous essays is like hiking with an energetic and experienced guide: One discovers the richness of place, and gains perspective. As Eve Said to the Serpent will change how you look at the world.

Bloomsbury Review

Solnit . . . is the very model of a public intellectual.

San Francisco Chronicle

Solnit—a perfect guide to all things mind and matter (close to everything, in other words)—has written a gorgeous set of meditations on what we make of the material world. These essays on how we turn places and bodies into art and ideas—and into dreams and nightmares—are surprising, smart, poetic, political, and very funny.

—Jennifer Price, author of Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America

Diverse and intelligent . . . An excellent vantage point from which to examine and enjoy the thinking of this maverick.

Library Journal

Solnit's graceful and trenchant inquiries into our perceptions of nature, women, art, and technology explicate both our nostalgia for lost wilderness and our painfully slow shift from 'a mechanical to an ecological worldview.'


As Eve Said to the Serpent is a unique and valuable collection by a writer whose star is rising. Written with wit and sensitivity, the book is exciting, accessible, and relevant to readers in a variety of fields. More importantly, it has the potential to dilate our perceptions of and thoughts about land and landscape, which are critical to our survival.

—William L. Fox, editor of Tumble Words: Writers Reading the West

Neatly balancing reportage, critical opinion and literary metaphor, Solnit standing clear-eyed on the shoulders of Walter Benjamin, Kristeva, Rachel Carson and many others attempts a bold, critical synthesis that, if occasionally unequal to its lofty goals, always provokes and challenges.

Publishers Weekly

Solnit, almost singlehandedly, is bringing the discourse of environmental feminism into its maturity, out of the realm of political correctness and into the realm of political felicity and verbal ebullience. The quality and aspiration of her writing in this book is commensurate with the urgency of her topic, which is very urgent indeed.

—Dave Hickey


National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Critics Circle

About the Author/Editor

REBECCA SOLNIT, who lives in San Francisco, is the best-selling author of Wanderlust, Savage Dreams, and several other books. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA Fellowship for Literature. She is a contributing editor for Art Issues and Creative Camera magazines.