Nature Writing: The Tradition in English


The definitive collection of prose masterpieces on nature, fully revised and expanded.
Encounters with nature have produced some of the great literature of our age. Darwin's ruminations on the Galapagos Islands, Thoreau's communion with Walden Pond, and Rachel Carson's evocation of the rocky coast of Maine are monuments in the history of writing and thought. No less significant are the searching essays of such contemporary writers as Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Annie ...

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The definitive collection of prose masterpieces on nature, fully revised and expanded.
Encounters with nature have produced some of the great literature of our age. Darwin's ruminations on the Galapagos Islands, Thoreau's communion with Walden Pond, and Rachel Carson's evocation of the rocky coast of Maine are monuments in the history of writing and thought. No less significant are the searching essays of such contemporary writers as Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Annie Dillard, and Bill McKibben. Nature Writing: The Tradition in English, includes 152 selections by 132 authors. This is the definitive collection of a many-voiced genre that has flourished in England and America for over two hundred years.
Here one will find such classic selections as William Bartram's parley with crocodiles in south Florida, John Hay's exchange with a dying Arctic dovekie, and John Muir's riding out a mountain windstorm in the branches of a lofty Douglas spruce.
New essays by Vladimir Nabokov, Scott Sanders, David Quammen, and Gary Snyder have been included, along with selections by such writers as David Abram, Diane Ackerman, Rick Bass, Jane Brox, John Daniel, Trudy Dittmar, Linda Hasselstrom, Ray Gonzalez, and Sharman Apt Russell. The editors of this volume have taken a special interest in including writers of color, as well as authors from many parts of the English-speaking world. Recently rediscovered works of a number of earlier writers, especially those of nineteenth-century women, also expand the range of this collection.Nature Writing: The Tradition in English displays nature in all the incarnations—enticing, chaotic, generous, cruel, mysterious, and heartbreaking—that have inspired men and women to portray it in words. The variety and strength of these selections represent one of the most significant and original literary achievements of our culture.
Never before have our encounters with the natural world been imbued with so much peril and so much possibility. By listening to the voices of those who have observed and reflected upon that world so powerfully, we are all enriched.
Gilbert White • William Bartram • Meriwether Lewis • John James Audubon • Ralph Waldo Emerson • Charles Darwin • Susan Fenimore Cooper • Henry David Thoreau • Walt Whitman • Samuel Clemens • John Muir • Mabel Osgood Wright • Ernest Thompson Seton • Luther Standing Bear • Rockwell Kent • Virginia Woolf Isak Dinesen • D. H. Lawrence • Aldo Leopold • Vladimir Nabokov • Sigurd Olson • Edwin Way Teale • E. B. White • René Dubos • Norman Maclean • John Steinbeck • George Orwell • Laurens Van Der Post • Rachel Carson • Loren Eiseley • Wallace Stegner • Lewis Thomas • John Hay • Thomas Merton • Faith McNulty • Farley Mowat • Maxine Kumin • Ann Haymond Zwinger • Edward Abbey • Peter Matthiessen • Gary Snyder • Edward O. Wilson • John McPhee • Edward Hoagland • Wendell Berry • Sue Hubbell • Jim Harrison • William Least Heat-Moon Bruce Chatwin • Maxine Hong Kingston • Linda Hasselstrom • Trudy Dittmar • Alice Walker • Rick Bass • Annie Dillard • Barry Lopez • Scott Sanders • David Rains Wallace • Alison Deming • Gretel Ehrlich • Emily Hiestand • Linda Hogan • Diane Ackerman • John Daniel • David Quammen • Jamaica Kincaid • Ray Gonzales • Gary Paul Nabhan • Louise Erdrich • David Mas Masumoto • Sharman Apt Russell • Terry Tempest Williams • Jane Brox • Bill McKibben • Janisse Ray • David Abram • Freeman House • Barbara Kingsolver • Ellen Meloy • Doug Peacock • Michael Pollan

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two new volumes join the increasing number of fine nature anthologies compiled to serve as textbooks for college courses on literature and the environment and to provide perspective on the evolution of nature writing. As the expanded second edition of The Norton Book of Nature Writing, Finch and Elder's collection includes 133 authors, increased from 94, and almost three times as many women authors. Writers from the traditional nature-writing canon, such as Thoreau and Muir, are included along with minority writers who offer a different perspective on nature and our relationship to the environment. In At Home on This Earth, an anthology of female nature writers, Anderson (Sisters of the Earth) and Edwards (Such News of the Land) include well-known authors such as Rachel Carson and Annie Dillard, as well as obscure though once-prominent authors such as Olive Thorne Miller and Edith M. Thomas. In addition, they have broadened the notion of what nature writing is by including writers not conventionally a part of this genre such as bell hooks and Alice Walker. Both books cover two centuries of writings in English arranged chronologically to highlight the differences and similarities between writing of the past and present. Almost as important as the selections are the author bio-sketches and critical comments about their works, which provide the historical and social perspective for each selection. The Norton work is limited to nonfiction essays, while selections from the 51 authors featured in At Home include essays, short stories, journal entries, and memoir excerpts. Both works are essential for nature-writing collections and are highly recommended for any collection. Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, Lake Superior State Univ., Sault Ste. Marie, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393049664
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1152
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Elder is chair of the environmental studies department at Middlebury College. His books include Reading the Mountains of Home.

Robert Finch is the author of five collections of essays and co-editor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing. He broadcasts a weekly commentary on NPR and serves on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. He lives in Wellfleet, MA.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Note 14
Introduction 15
Introduction to the 1990 Norton Book of Nature Writing 21
From The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne 34
From Letters from an American Farmer 52
From Sketches of Eighteenth century America 59
From Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, ... 65
From American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States 77
From The Journal of a Naturalist 82
From David Thompson's Narrative of His Explorations in Western America, 1784-1812 86
From Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth 90
From The Journals of Lewis and Clark 96
From Wanderings in South America, the North-West of the United States, and the Antilles 105
From Ornithological Biography 117
The Natural World 122
From The Natural History Prose Writings of John Clare 123
From Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of the North American Indians ... 129
From Nature 141
From The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson 144
From Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle 152
From On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection 160
From The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex 161
From Rural Hours 164
From A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 170
From Walden: or, Life in the Woods 172
Walking 180
From The Maine Woods 205
From Journals 211
From Glaucus; or, The Wonders of the Shore 220
From Specimen Days and Collect 224
From Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries 230
From Life on the Mississippi 237
From An Island Garden 239
In Mammoth Cave 245
A Wind-Storm in the Forests 251
The Water-Ouzel 258
My Friend the Pig 270
From Idle Days in Patagonia 274
From Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada 276
From Notebooks and Papers of Gerard Manley Hopkins 282
Out of Doors in February 287
Absence of Design in Nature 295
The Story of a Garden 300
From Wild Animals I Have Known 305
From Moths of the Limberlost 313
The Land of Little Rain 321
Nature 327
Hampshire 331
The End of Summer 337
From N by E 340
The Death of the Moth 343
From Out of Africa 346
Flowery Tuscany 349
Unknown Eros 362
Wave and Cliff 364
From The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod 367
From A Sand County Almanac 376
Love in the Desert 398
From Tarka the Otter 411
From An Almanac for Moderns 416
Butterflies 423
Northern Lights 433
The Lost Woods 436
A Slight Sound at Evening 440
The Ancient People and the Newly Come 449
A Family of Landscapes 453
From A River Runs Through It 458
From The Log from the Sea of Cortez 466
From The Heart of the Hunter 469
The Snakes Are About 475
The Marginal World 480
The Judgment of the Birds 486
From Black Boy 494
The Lively Petes of Parque Vargas 497
Glen Canyon Submersus 504
Coda: Wilderness Letter 514
From A Land 520
From The Inland Island 526
Death in the Open 533
The World's Biggest Membrane 536
The Common Night 539
The Dovekie and the Ocean Sunfish 541
Rain and the Rhinoceros 546
Mouse 554
From Never Cry Wolf 561
Moments and Journeys 566
Silver Snaffles 573
Of Red-Tailed Hawks and Black-Tailed Gnatcatchers 577
Beginnings 587
From The Tree 592
The Island of Auks 606
The Serpents of Paradise 614
The Great American Desert 620
From The Tree Where Man Was Born 628
From The Wind Birds 642
Pig Tales 644
A Very Warm Mountain 651
The Bird of Paradise 658
Ancient Forests of the Far West 663
Under the Snow 684
Hailing the Elusory Mountain Lion 691
Thoughts on Returning to the City After Five Months on a Mountain Where the Wolves Howled 704
Owning It All 707
An Entrance to the Woods 718
The Making of a Marginal Farm 728
The Way to Rainy Mountain 737
From A Country Year 743
Timescape with Signpost 750
The Silence 754
The Beginner's Mind 760
In Salmon's Water 767
Under Old Nell's Skirt 773
Atop the Mound 778
From The Songlines 782
A City Person Encountering Nature 787
From Living at the End of Time 791
The Gifts 797
The Circle Is the Way to See 811
Of Moose and a Moose Hunter 819
The Big Snow 833
Death of a Hornet 842
Nighthawks Fly in Thunderstorms 845
Moose 850
Am I Blue? 863
Heaven and Earth in Jest 868
Living Like Weasels 876
Total Eclipse 880
Cutover 892
From Arctic Dreams 901
The American Geographies 914
Buckeye 924
The Human Element 930
Wolf, Eagle, Bear: An Alaska Notebook 937
Friends, Foes, and Working Animals 944
The Flora and Fauna of Las Vegas 950
Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah 960
The Bats 967
And the Coyotes Will Lift a Leg 972
Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall 980
A Word in Favor of Rootlessness 984
Strawberries Under Ice 991
Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination 1003
Alien Soil 1015
Northwest Passage 1022
The Third Eye of the Lizard 1028
Calling Animals by Name 1034
From The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country 1039
Big Grass 1043
Planting Seeds 1048
Gila Wilderness 1052
Black Women and the Wilderness 1063
High Tide in Tucson 1068
Weeds Are Us 1079
The Clan of One-Breasted Women 1091
Baldwins 1099
The Ecology of Magic 1102
From The Ninemile Wolves 1114
From The End of Nature 1120
Built by Fire 1131
Forest Beloved 1133
Permissions 1137
Index 1147
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