The Audubon Reader

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Overview

This unprecedented anthology of John James Audubon’s lively and colorful writings about the American wilderness reintroduces the great artist and ornithologist as an exceptional American writer, a predecessor to Thoreau, Emerson, and Melville.

Audubon’s award-winning biographer, Richard Rhodes, has gathered excerpts from his journals, letters, and published works, and has organized them to appeal to general readers. Rhodes’s unobtrusive commentary frames a wide range of ...

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Overview

This unprecedented anthology of John James Audubon’s lively and colorful writings about the American wilderness reintroduces the great artist and ornithologist as an exceptional American writer, a predecessor to Thoreau, Emerson, and Melville.

Audubon’s award-winning biographer, Richard Rhodes, has gathered excerpts from his journals, letters, and published works, and has organized them to appeal to general readers. Rhodes’s unobtrusive commentary frames a wide range of selections, including Audubon’s vivid “bird biographies,” correspondence with his devoted wife, Lucy, journal accounts of dramatic river journeys and hunting trips with the Shawnee and Osage Indians, and a generous sampling of brief narrative episodes that have long been out of print—engaging stories of pioneer life such as "The Great Pine Swamp," “The Earthquake,” and “Kentucky Barbecue on the Fourth of July.” Full-color reproductions of sixteen of Audubon’s stunning watercolor illustrations accompany the text.

The Audubon Reader allows us to experience Audubon’s distinctive voice directly and provides a window into his electrifying encounter with early America: with its wildlife and birds, its people, and its primordial wilderness.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rhodes offers a companion volume to John James Audubon: The Making of an American, his 2004 biography of the artist, ornithologist, and writer, with this latest addition to the "Everyman's Library" series. Carefully chosen excerpts on North American birds and mammals from Audubon's journals, letters, and books provide a refreshing, intimate view of the man whose name is synonymous with birds. The selections are arranged chronologically, allowing the reader to follow the progress of Audubon's explorations from Florida to Labrador and his attempts to balance his devotion to family life with his passionate drive to produce the definitive 19th-century work on birds of North America. A select bibliography and 16 color illustrations of Audubon's bird paintings are included, along with an excellent chronology that places events in Audubon's life alongside cultural and historical highlights of the time. A distinctive collection despite some overlap with John James Audubon: Writings and Drawings (Library of America, 1999), this work is an essential purchase for public and academic libraries. (Index not seen.)-Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, Lake Superior State Univ. Lib., Sault Ste. Marie, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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