Edward Hoagland is a prolific American essayist and nature writer. Having lived much of his life in between New York City (where he was born in 1932) and the backcountry of Vermont, British Columbia, and Alaska, his writing reflects two essential but polarizing aspects of American life.
He has been praised by writers like John Updike as “the best essayist of my generation,” and Edward Abbey as a “a strong, solid writer with a splendid feel for the intricacy, queerness and stubborn pertinacity of life.”
In the upcoming Winter issue of The American Scholar, we will be publishing a piece he wrote called “On Friendship,” which explores how the intimacies shared with our closest companions keep us anchored, vital, and alive.
In anticipation, we are looking back to an essay that he wrote for us called “Spaced Out in the City” about how smartphones and handheld gadgets are distancing us from our beloved cities. This observation seems increasingly relevant just two years later.

Edward Hoagland is a prolific American essayist and nature writer. Having lived much of his life in between New York City (where he was born in 1932) and the backcountry of Vermont, British Columbia, and Alaska, his writing reflects two essential but polarizing aspects of American life.

He has been praised by writers like John Updike as “the best essayist of my generation,” and Edward Abbey as a “a strong, solid writer with a splendid feel for the intricacy, queerness and stubborn pertinacity of life.”

In the upcoming Winter issue of The American Scholar, we will be publishing a piece he wrote called “On Friendship,” which explores how the intimacies shared with our closest companions keep us anchored, vital, and alive.

In anticipation, we are looking back to an essay that he wrote for us called “Spaced Out in the City” about how smartphones and handheld gadgets are distancing us from our beloved cities. This observation seems increasingly relevant just two years later.

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If a person has just been married, like me, he kicks himself if his new wife isn’t constantly in the front of his mind, when, as a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be natural for her to be. The symbiosis comes with time. As it is, I think of how pretty Marion was in the three dresses she wore during the weekend of my sister’s wedding. We marry for ambiguous reasons, most of us—partly because we’re lonely, we’ve reached a dead end, we feel that we ought to have children already, or perhaps we’re afraid of some unfathomable element in our makeup, such as homosexuality, or a more general malaise and panicky despair. It takes a few years for the marriage to rid itself of its beginnings. Two people 35, gradually falling in love, who recognize some of their mistakes of the past and are sick of a sex life of fleeting affairs, start from a better position, but they still need to play it by ear.
In 1966, at the age of 33, the essayist, novelist, and traveler Edward Hoagland spent three months in the remotest parts of northwest British Columbia… His journal of that trip, Notes from the Century Before, published in 1969, would become one of the best known of his nearly 20 books. Having finished the book in 1968, newly married and about to become a father for the first time, Hoagland made a return visit. 
“Miles from Nowhere,” Edward Hoagland, The American Scholar.

If a person has just been married, like me, he kicks himself if his new wife isn’t constantly in the front of his mind, when, as a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be natural for her to be. The symbiosis comes with time. As it is, I think of how pretty Marion was in the three dresses she wore during the weekend of my sister’s wedding. We marry for ambiguous reasons, most of us—partly because we’re lonely, we’ve reached a dead end, we feel that we ought to have children already, or perhaps we’re afraid of some unfathomable element in our makeup, such as homosexuality, or a more general malaise and panicky despair. It takes a few years for the marriage to rid itself of its beginnings. Two people 35, gradually falling in love, who recognize some of their mistakes of the past and are sick of a sex life of fleeting affairs, start from a better position, but they still need to play it by ear.

In 1966, at the age of 33, the essayist, novelist, and traveler Edward Hoagland spent three months in the remotest parts of northwest British Columbia… His journal of that trip, Notes from the Century Before, published in 1969, would become one of the best known of his nearly 20 books. Having finished the book in 1968, newly married and about to become a father for the first time, Hoagland made a return visit. 

Miles from Nowhere,” Edward Hoagland, The American Scholar.