At the Confluence of Paradox

Implicit Religion and the Wild


  • Leslie van Gelder Walden University, Minneapolis



the wild, wilderness


Using storied memoir as her source, the author describes the paradoxical nature of contemporary culture’s relationship to wilderness and the wild. She defines three separate entities: wilderness, wildlands, and the wild, and discusses their implications in the way in which we view self, other, and the natural world.


Abram, David (1996) The Spells of the Sensuous, New York: Vintage.

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1971), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Glacken, Clarence (1967) Teaces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature, Culture and Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century, Berkeley, University of California Press.

Gruchow, Paul (1997) Boundary Waters: The Grace of the Wild, Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions.

Langer, Suzanne (1953) Feeling and form, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Lopez, Barry (1999) About this Life, New York: Random House.

Martin, Calvin Luther (1992) In the Spirit of the Earth, Baltimore: John Hopkins Press.

Meeker, Joseph W. (1997) The Comedy of Survival: Literary Ecology and a Play Ethic, Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Oelschlager, Max (1991) The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Shepard, Paul (1995) The Only World We’ve Got, Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Shepard, Paul (1997) The Others: How Animals Made Us Human, Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Snyder, Gary (1990) The Practice of the Wild, New York: North Point Press.

Stegner, Wallace (1990) ‘Coda: Wilderness Letter’, in Elder, John and Finch, Robert (eds.) Norton Anthology of Nature Writing, New York: W.W. Norton and Co.

Thoreau, Henry, David (1982) ‘Walking’, in Bode, Carl (ed.) The Portable Thoreau, New York: Penguin Editions.

Turner, Jack (1996) The Abstract Wild, Tucson: University of Arizona Press.



How to Cite

van Gelder, L. (2004). At the Confluence of Paradox: Implicit Religion and the Wild. Implicit Religion, 7(3), 207–227.