Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings / Edition 1

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<p>Faith in a Seed contains the hitherto unpublished work The Dispersion of Seeds, one of Henry D. Thoreau's last important research and writing projects, and now his first new book to appear in 125 years.<p>With the remarkable clarity and grace that characterize all of his writings, Thoreau describes the ecological succession of plant species through seed dispersal. The Dispersion of Seeds, which draws on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, refutes the then widely accepted theory that some plants spring spontaneously to life, independent of roots, cuttings, or seeds. As Thoreau wrote: "Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dean, the editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin, has culled essays from the notebooks Thoreau left behind at his death, works that illuminate the scientific side of the pioneering naturalist. (Apr.)
Library Journal
For Thoreauvians, botanists, agriculturalists, and scholars of 19th-century America, this book represents nothing less than a triumph of editorial skill and integrity over conventional wisdom. A study of plant ecology using Darwinian theory, Faith in a Seed is one of the more interesting books published in our time, so felicitously does it give readers a fresh dose of all that makes Thoreau such a major figure in American letters. The holograph of The Dispersion of Seeds , Thoreau's last major project (as well as the manuscript of Wild Fruits, selections of which appear here along with two other writings probably intended for the title volume) was dismissed by most of the scholars who even knew of it as being taxonomically suspect, uninterestingly concrete, and ``best left unpublished.'' How wrong. It is, in fact, the book that latter-day Thoreau admirers have often wished he had written: sensual, acute, intricate, and altogether fascinating, a text that should cause scholars to reevaluate their assessment of an important writer. A fundamental acquisition for all collections.-- Mark L. Shelton, Athens, Ohio
This volume is proclaimed by the publisher to be "The first new book by Thoreau published in 125 years"--can we expect more to come? This previously unpublished Thoreau work, originally entitled The Dispersion of Seeds, is in essence a collection of the writer's more scientific observations. As such, the topics are often dry, but the writing is all Thoreau as he walks the reader through his many varied observations about nature and life. Pleasant reading, especially for Thoreau enthusiasts, and perhaps a few scientists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559631822
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 301
  • Sales rank: 1,415,289
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
The Dispersion of Seeds 23
Other Late Natural History Writings
Wild Fruits 177
Weeds and Grasses 204
Forest Trees 207
A Thoreau Chronology 213
Editor's Notes 217
Acknowledgments 271
Index 273
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