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The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry (Anglais) Broché – 18 septembre 2003

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21 essays offering an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. Through staunch support of local economies and farming communities, Berry offers a clear vision to those dissatisfied with the destructiveness of American culture.

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47 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Savor the wisdom in this book and then take action 2 mai 2004
Par Patricia Kramer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
For me the central theme of this book can be illustrated in this quote. " I don't think it is appreciated how much of an outdoor book the Bible is." Berry is a deeply religious man who lives his religion every moment in his deep, deep connections to the land, to all animals, to community,to the growing of food, and to the world as an organic entity.
As wonderful as it is to have Poet Laureates, I wish we also had Philosopher Laureates and that Wendell Berry had that forum. His thoughts are important for the national consciousness.
"The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life."
Berry advocates watching government closely, nationally but particularly locally. When it comes time to protest, he calls for facts and good arguments, not just slogans and buttons.
"I would rather go before the governement with two people who have a competent understanding of an issue, and who therefore deserve a hearing, than with two thousand who are vaguely dissatisfied."
These essays span several decades but the ideas are more relevant today than when they were written. The trends and programs, such as GATT and the loss of topsoil and the rise of megafarms, are as bad as he feared but time has proven them even more destructive.
"Restraint - for us, now - above all:the ability to accept and live within limits; to resist changes that are merely novel or fashionable; to resist greed and pride; to resist the temptation to 'solve' problems by ignoring them, accepting them as 'tradeoffs', or bequesthing them to posterity. A good solution, then, must be in harmony with good character, cultural value, and moral law."
25 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A wonderful book 11 août 2005
Par Nathan Eanes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Sometimes, during and after reading a particular book, I feel as though I could not have read anything more appropriate at that time.

The book blows me away with its depth, its insight, or the amazing questions it raises.

The Art of the Commonplace is one of those books, and it may be the best introduction to Wendell Berry a reader can ask for. As a collection of essays over more than twenty years, it covers a wide range of social issues-such as agriculture and the environment, family and marriage, consumerism, and globalism-which is amazing given that all of them relate to agrarian topics.

Berry poses questions that most of us never consider, and I believe that is the main reason Berry is one of the most desperately needed Christian writers in today's America.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I could read this thirty times, and should 20 janvier 2010
Par J Charles - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book took me more time to get through than any other I can recall, page for page, because I had to constantly set it down and take notes. In fantastic irony I was taking these notes on my phone and emailing them to myself. Berry would be so horrified! I ended up with about 6,000 words of notes from this, and that's from having read half the essays (generally I take about 0 notes when reading a text). As a young suburbanite who considers himself extremely "progressive" and very pro government, as someone who has made a life of living off fake food, as an atheist, as a rationalist obsessed with finding all the correct answers and believing we will find them in the laboratory, and as a current student at an agricultural university where the agriculture department is invisible (and committed to biotechnology) and everything else is business, I was taken by this selection of essays and essentially thrown against the wall. I've absolutely never been so influenced by a single text in my life.

Berry is the first person I have ever conversed with (and because of the way this man writes it feels like I did converse with him) who could explain traditional religious ideals in terms of their actual practical application. As a student of literature, despite my societal and technologically ingrained commitment to specialization and fragmentation and fracture, I at least recognize that there is something to a story, something that is difficult, right now, to explain in terms of a series of chemical reactions in the reader's mind. Don't misunderstand me: I am an atheist and a materialist still, but that's exactly the point. Berry, despite his protestantism, explains everything in the most rational and sequential way possible. He is the first person who's been able to explain why marriage matters in a way my mind can grasp, why fidelity matters, why restraint matters. Amazing. These are things I've always felt mattered, but had suspected it was merely the product of my upbringing and culture. Berry absolutely undermined my sense that the humanities and higher education and "critical thinking" ought to be the way to go. I'm still just blown away by how radically my perceptions have been altered.

Perhaps for folks who grew up on farms, this all is nothing new. This collection is critical for those land and food starved folks like me, those trained in critical thinking who have that nagging sense in the back of their mind that they are missing something.

I've already ordered two of these to ship to friends and family, and I can't wait for spring, where I can at least be part of a community supported agriculture project, a shared venture for fresh food, something to reconnect me to the cycle, because that's what it is -- and I'd never once considered that. We humans, we don't have to be a disease.

There is a lot of repetition in this book, because it's a collection of essays spanning, I don't know, 40 years. But repetition is perhaps what people like me need before we can even begin to begin to begin to GET IT. Also, while I skipped several essays, as the reading was on assignment for a literature course, whatever you do, get your hands on this and read the essay "The Body and the Earth."
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Profound insights, delivered with humility, honesty, and urgency 30 octobre 2009
Par Michael Tiemann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
If I had to recommend one single book to inform the solutions to the problems of the 21st century, it would be The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry.

Among the many great manifestos and other eye-opening books I have read, from The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals to Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair to Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman to Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy to The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Vintage), I find all of them enriched by Berry's fundamental insights into the essence what what being human means, including the bits that, in the late 20th century/early 21st century, our modern society has attempted to ignore, diminish, or outright suppress. Berry's own unique experiences, and his poetic as well as prophetic ways of speaking bring us back to the garden, in both a literal and a religious sense. It is a return long overdue.

Michael Pollan was the first person to recommend Wendell Berry's writings to me, and my only regret is that I waited four years to actually act on his recommendation. Not to take anything away from Pollan, but the most astonishing aspects I read in The Omnivore's Dilemma were all perfectly predicted--in detail--by essays contained in this book written back in 1977. (And to his credit, Pollan gives the credit to Berry.) But Berry does far more than to expose the health risks of industrial agriculture, or its destruction of our environment, or its ruin of the rural economy; he speaks about community and, when there is no other way around it, communion. His honesty is as surprising as it is refreshing.

The human race will be greatly challenged by the consequences of global warming, population growth, and the exhaustion of natural resources we have depended upon as if they were infinite and ours to control. Berry argues, and he has convinced me, that until we understand and fulfill our obligations to each other, we are doomed to destroy our selves. His alternative vision to monotonic (and hence obviously unsustainable) growth is timely, compelling, and most importantly, sensible.

A word about the title: when I first saw it, I figured it was a kind of how-to guide on understanding and maintaining communities and the commons. But it is a lot more than that. As I finished it, I realized that Berry was speaking as well to the art that springs *from* the commonplace. It is the generative power of a field well tended that creates such art that it is called human. This book made me realize, as Ulysses once did, that we are not only creators but also extraordinary creations, and we must honor that which creates us--the commons.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
We need to keep specialization from becoming de-humanizing 12 mai 2014
Par B. Belschner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I love Wendell Berry. He writes beautifully, carefully handcrafting each sentence. He is an inspiration.

That being said, I can't agree with him completely. True, modern technology and factories and over-specialization have produced much evil. We must beware. But they have also given us much good. Berry is great at identifying the bad, but not quite so great at identifying the good. For example: we are blessed to have machines that can help us make hay better, quicker, and easier. Tractors are amazing inventions, even though they break down and need repairs (Proverbs 14:4).

I believe men will eventually explore the stars and colonize other planets....but even if we don't, specialized labour is here to stay. It just works better. You can't grow vanilla or coconuts in your backyard no matter how hard you try; certain products only come from certain regions. You wouldn't be reading this right now on your computer screen without the benefit of specialized work all over the globe. Christ's body is divided into different "specialized" parts, and we shouldn't ignore that fact. We just need to heed Berry's warnings, and figure out a way to keep specialization from becoming de-humanizing. The solution? We need to keep it personal. I'm not really sure how. But I know we need to read Wendell Berry, and learn what we can from bygone eras.
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