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The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert…
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The Natural History of Selborne (1789)

by Gilbert White

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Showing 5 of 5
Gilbert White's classic, best in an illustrated edition like Century (1988), can be read like the Bible, a few paragraphs a day to muse on. Or one sentence: "The language of birds is very ancient and like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical; little is said, but much is meant and understood."
I read White's Selbourne, and mused on it so, while traveling in Dorset and writing my Birdtalk (2003). GW takes you into another world, the world where quotidian life--the appearance of migratory birds, the Tortoise Timothy in the root garden--was prized, not avoided by iphones and fast transport and vague urgencies.
White is the Thoreau of England, a solitary observer of the first rank. But unlike Thoreau the cantankerous Romantic recluse and tax-refuser, White was a sociable minister, an Eighteenth-Century man. Both Thoreau and White write with inimitable precision and joy at discovery. Both were transcendental, White in the traditionsl Christian manner. The Solomon of Canticles revived in Selbourne and at Walden ( )
  AlanWPowers | Jan 30, 2014 |
A pioneering book by a remarkably modern naturalist writing at the time of the French Revolution, and embodying Enlightenment values although a clergyman. So much of interest here for natural history buffs, including records of birds rare or common today, new discoveries (harvest mouse), temperature records begging to be compared with present-day ones, and even a discussion on leg-length/body-mass allometry (he gets this wrong though). Also some fine vocabulary words: nidification, terebrate, pulveratrice, salutiferous, hibernaculum, Anathoth, and smother-flies. ( )
  adzebill | Dec 3, 2013 |
I love this book and White's house in Selborne. This volume only cost threepence.
1 vote jon1lambert | Oct 3, 2008 |
Natural History starts here.
1 vote WorkinSuffolkIdio_s | Jun 14, 2007 |
One of the earliest nature books by a village priest in England who was an amateur naturalist. It seems that in those days a lot of such work was done by amateur gentlemen, and I believe they laid the foundations for more professional scientific studies later on. However their view of conservation was slightly different to ours. Whenever a farmer would bring news of some new and rare species that he had seen, the holy and learned vicar's usual response seemed to be, "Go and shoot a couple for me so I can study them"! But I suppose that's how we now find ourselves with natural history museums full of stuffed specimens of rare and often extinct species which the present generation would otherwise not be able to see. ( )
  johnthefireman | Sep 11, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gilbert Whiteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Attenborough, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The Natural History of Selborne" by Gilbert White is NOT the same work as "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne".  The first is contained within the second.  Please do not combine these two works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140431128, Mass Market Paperback)

More than any other writer, Gilbert White (1720-93) has shaped the relationship between man and nature. A hundred years before Darwin, White realised the crucial role of worms in the formation of soil and understood the significance of territory and song in birds. His precise, scrupulously honest and unaffectedly witty observations led him to interpret animals' behaviour in a unique manner. This collection of his letters to the explorer and naturalist Daines Barrington and the eminent zoologist Thomas Pennant - White's intellectual lifelines from his country-village home - are a beautifully written, detailed evocation of the lives of the flora and fauna of eighteenth-century England.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:03 -0400)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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