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Rizzoli Bookstore: Alexander Nemerov Presents The Forest with Rachael DeLue



6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


1133 Broadway

“One of the richest books ever to come my way.” —Annie Proulx

“This is a wonderful book. . . . An extraordinary achievement.” —Edmund de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

Alexander Nemerov is in conversation with professor of art and American studies Rachael DeLue to celebrate the launch of The Forest: A Fable of America in the 1830s.

Set amid the glimmering lakes and disappearing forests of the early United States, The Forest imagines how a wide variety of Americans experienced their lives. Part truth, part fiction, and featuring both real and invented characters, the book follows painters, poets, enslaved people, farmers, and artisans living and working in a world still made largely of wood. Some of the historical characters—such as Thomas Cole, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanny Kemble, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nat Turner—are well-known, while others are not. But all are creators of private and grand designs.

The Forest unfolds in brief stories. Each episode reveals an intricate lost world. Characters cross paths or go their own ways, each striving for something different but together forming a pattern of life. For Alexander Nemerov, the forest is a description of American society, the dense and discontinuous woods of nation, the foliating thoughts of different people, each with their separate shade and sun. Through vivid descriptions of the people, sights, smells, and sounds of Jacksonian America, illustrated with paintings, prints, and photographs, The Forest brings American history to life on a human scale.

Alexander Nemerov is the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University. His many books include Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York and Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine (Princeton).

Rachael Z. DeLue is a professor of art history and American studies at Princeton University. She teaches and writes about art and visual culture in Europe and the Americas in the modern period from a transatlantic and transcultural perspective. Affiliate appointments in Princeton’s High Meadows Environmental Institute, Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, and Program in Media and Modernity reflect her interdisciplinary orientation. Recent work explores intersections between art and science and the significance of visual expression within the history and theory of knowledge in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her research also considers the formation of the United States as a contested geography, identity, and idea. Her publications include George Inness and the Science of Landscape, Landscape Theory, and Arthur Dove: Always Connect. Current projects include a study of Charles Darwin’s “tree of life” diagram in On the Origin of Species and a book about impossible images that examines a range of image types, from portraiture and landscape painting to natural history illustration and data visualization.

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