John Elder is chair of the environmental studies department at Middlebury College. His books include Reading the Mountains of Home. Robert Finch has lived on Cape Cod for forty years, currently in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He is the author of seven collections of essays, most recently of his radio scripts for his weekly commentary, "A Cape Cod Notebook," on the Cape and Islands NPR Station, WCAI.
Covering more than 200 years of nature writing, this volume is more than a sampling of the genre, it is a feast. Finch ( The Primal Place ) and Elder ( Imagining the Earth: Poetry and the Vision of Nature ) have assembled a dazzling array of British and American writers whose works range from pastoral to impressionistic, from personal observation to the imaginative and philosophical. Many of the authors are readily identified with nature writing: Gilbert White, William Bartram, Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold. The editors have some surprises for us, introducing essays on nature by Thomas Merton, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Washington Irving, D. H. Lawrence, George Catlin. About one-third of the selections represent modern writers, among them Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, Wendell Berry. For some readers this anthology will be a voyage of discovery; for others, an opportunity to renew acquaintance with old friends. (Apr.)
Nature is the language of the Earth and its creatures--the windstorm in the forest, the tadpole in the pond, snowflakes on the summit, the fins and forms of most fish, toadstools, moss, tarantulas, and the silk of spiders. The ``children of Linnaeus,'' nature writers such as Darwin, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Audubon, and Muir, have captured the essence of wilderness and beast. This anthology draws upon the works of these and 83 other authors, spanning two centuries of English and American literature to provide a concise introduction to this literary form. A worthy addition to general and academic collections.-- Mikey Scott, Torrey Pines High Sch., Del Mar, Cal.
YA-- The range of this anthology indicates the breadth of its appeal--authors from 1789 to 1987 and concerns as diverse as the destructive majesty of elephants and friendship with pigs.