The Nature of Generosity

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 22, 2010 - Philosophy - 288 pages
Hailed as one of our finest writers about the American West, William Kittredge now brings all his experience and intelligence to bear on the wider, and wilder, West of our civilization. In certain respects, The Nature of Generosity continues the story of Hole in the Sky, the acclaimed memoir of Kittredge's early life on his family's vast ranch in Oregon; but it also ranges freely, and exhilaratingly, around the world and through recorded time.

A travel book of sorts--from New York and Venice to the Andalusian hills of García Lorca, from the cow towns of Montana to the caves at Lascaux--it is driven by the quest to reconcile childhood simplicities with the complex, urgent, adult questions about who to be, and how, and why. Drawing on our various histories--biological, cultural, psychological--Kittredge celebrates diversity as the cornerstone of our social possibilities, examines the freedom and responsibility this entails, and suggests that our culture's habitually selfish, combative behavior is far from being in our best interests--or, indeed, in our nature.

Less geographical than philosophical, at once learned and curious, observant and personal, The Nature of Generosity is a revolutionary, and practical, magnum opus.

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

Kittredge (Hole in the Sky, 1992, etc.) continues his explorations, identifying the ingredients of a good and worthy life as he mines them from recollections of his early years.Exposure to the world ... Read full review

The nature of generosity

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Combining travelog, history, autobiography, and philosophy, these five long, meandering essays are at once erudite and personal. Prolific author and noted Western writer Kittredge (Owning It All) here ... Read full review


Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

William Kittredge is the author of Hole in the Sky; Owning It All, a book of essays; and the story collections The Van Gogh Field and We Are Not in This Togethe. With Annick Smith, he edited The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology.

Bibliographic information