Friday, September 23, 2011


Grammar and Trees

Richard Mabey, Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees (2007; rpt. London: Vintage Books, 2008), p. 97 (on John Evelyn's Sylva and its influence):
The fundamental grammar of our relationships with trees changed. Before, 'growing' had been an intransitive verb in the language of woods. Trees grew, and we, in a kind of subordinate clause, took things from them. In the forest-speak of the Enlightenment, 'growing' was a transitive verb. We were the subject and trees the object. We were the cause of their existence in particular places on the earth.
Anton Lock, The Sapling

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