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by Yi-Fu Tuan
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-8166-4055-3
Library of Congress Classification AC8.T745 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 081

A long-awaited collection of highlights from a scholar's renowned letters.

"Maybe the most influential scholar you've never heard of" was how a feature article in The Chronicle of Higher Education recently described Yi-Fu Tuan, a widely traveled Chinese-American geographer whose letters to his friends and colleagues, distilling observations, ideas, and experiences, have carried his insights, and his reputation, far beyond his chosen field. Culling the most characteristic thoughts and compelling moments from these prized letters, Dear Colleague at long last gives readers near and far the opportunity to share what Tuan's correspondents have already enjoyed-and to discover the pleasures of the underlined passages in a book of life at once edifying, entertaining, and exemplary.

Reflecting on personal encounters and impersonal forces, Tuan conducts us along a path that leads from nature to human nature, through society and culture, geography and history, morality and religion, life and death. By turns playful and aphoristic, these essays hold revelations both humorous and harrowing. Whether browsed for their considerable incidental pleasures or perused in depth from beginning to end, they afford their reader the rare interior knowledge of another human being and his world, and an even rarer glimpse of the connections between sensation and intellect that lie at the very heart of the humanistic enterprise.

Imparting the insights of a revered scholar, revealing the tensions-and contradictions-that exist between life and thought, remarking on ideas from other thinkers, and expanding on perennial matters of morality and meaning, religion and ritual, pleasure and pain, Dear Colleague maps Tuan's own humanity in a lucid, elegant, and memorable way.

Yi-Fu Tuan is professor emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin. He is widely considered the founder of human geography, and is the author of many books, including Cosmos and Hearth (1996) and Space and Place (new edition, 2001), published by the University of Minnesota Press. He is also the author of books on desert landforms, China, the history of ideas, and an autobiography, Who Am I? (1999).

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