ABSTRACT

Indian captivity narratives influenced environmental ethics from the very beginnings of written literature in North America, and extended beyond the debate over Native American removal. The captivity narrative was a remarkably popular genre that was very widely read both in colonial and antebellum America. More than two thousand extant nonfictional captivity narratives tell the story of people who lived in the wilderness as prisoners rather than going to nature because of a zeal for science, an aesthetic quest for the pastoral or sublime, a government mandate to explore, or a search for voluntary simplicity. 1