The Bird by Jules Micheletby Jules Michelet
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LOiseau," or "The Bird," was first published in 1856. It has since been followed by "L'Insecte" and "La Mer;" the three works forming a trilogy which few writers have surpassed in grace of style, beauty of description, and suggestiveness of sentiment. "L'Oiseau" may be briefly described as an eloquent defence of the Bird in its relation to man, and a poetical exposition of the attractiveness of Natural History. It is animated by a fine and tender spirit, and written with an inimitable charm of language.
In submitting the following translation to the English public, I am conscious of an urgent need that I should apologize for its shortcomings. It is no easy matter to do justice to Michelet in English; yet, if I have failed to convey a just idea of his beauties of expression, if I have suffered most of the undefinable aroma of his style to escape, I believe I have rendered his meaning faithfully, without exaggeration or diminution. I have endeavoured to preserve, as far as possible, his more characteristic peculiarities, and even mannerisms, carrying the literalness of my version to an extent which some critics, perhaps, will be disposed to censure. But in copying the masterpiece of a great artist, what we ask of the copyist is, that he will reproduce every effect of light and shade with the severest accuracy; and, in the translation of a noble work from one language to another, the public have a right to demand the same exact adherence to the original. They want to see as much of the author as they can, and as little as may be of the translator.
The present version is from the eighth edition of "L'Oiseau," and is adorned with all the original Illustrations.
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