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Beatrix Potter: The Extraordinary Life of a…
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Beatrix Potter: The Extraordinary Life of a Victorian Genius

by Linda Lear

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the great and thorough research undertaken for the writing of this book really serves to give readers a better, more complete picture of beatrix potter. i deducted a star because lear's prose does not flow terribly well and can be repetitive and, early on, a bit of a yawn-fest. luckily that particular kink gets worked out by the author. i have long admired potter but had not really read such comprehensive information about her in the past. her life really was remarkable, not only because of her fame and achievement as a writer of children's books, but for her intellect, artistic talents and respect for nature. as well, her feistiness and determination makes her even that much more admirable!! ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 6, 2013 |
Really well-researched and, moreover, well-written. Not an everyday combination in biographies. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Absolutely fascinating. I never realized what an interesting person Beatrix Potter was. She is so much more than the author of "bunny books." The detail Lear gives about the process that went into the creation and publication of Potter's books gives me real insight into the publishing world of children's lit even though it occurred over 100 years ago. I am also amazed at the revelation that Potter was an entrepreneur. She was always thinking of merchandise to go along with her books. ( )
  bridgetrwilson | Mar 27, 2013 |
I read about half of this 450+ page biography. Way too much detail - would have benefitted greatly from good, professional editing. If it had been about 2/3's shorter and told in an interesting narrative, it could have been a good read. However, I found myself slogging through more details about each book and each drawing that was essentially the same as the last no telling how many I had already read. And, there was very little information about Beatrix, her personality, her interactions - except that she enjoyed gardens and drawing and animals, which was frequently repeated. ( )
  Jonlyn | Jan 21, 2013 |
My sweetheart and I were talking about the Lake District and I mentioned William Wordsworth as a key figure in giving the place an identity. In response, she handed me her copy of this biography of Beatrix Potter. I had no idea about any connection, or really much of an idea about Potter herself, beyond Peter Rabbit.

What a tremendous surprise! Potter belongs alongside perhaps Wendell Berry or Aldo Leopold. I remember reading in Wendell Berry about an endangered species of bird, whose survival it turned out depended on the preservation of the farms in its habitat. The whole idea of human culture as a part of the ecology of a region - Beatrix Potter was something of a pioneer in this vision.

Before that Potter was quite a naturalist, a student especially of fungi and lichen. Lear shows how Potter exemplified a kind of amateur expertise that fell out of favor just as Potter;s studies were yielding their best fruit. Of course, as a woman Potter would have had great difficulties in finding an audience for her theories even if amateur expertise had still be in favor. Still, the second strike was no help.

I remember a character in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, a gentleman who falls in love with farming and the lives of the farming villagers. This seems a bit like Potter. She was quite well-to-do, but dressed simply and got her hands dirty with work in the gardens, fields, and pastures.

Lear shows us a Beatrix Potter than I think is a model for how to live, especially in the coming centuries. With tightening constraints on global resources, we will be forced to live more locally, closer to the land and food production. But living close to the land can be done with grace, style, and depth. It can be richly rewarding. Lear does a wonderful job in painting for us such a splendid and inspiring portrait. ( )
  kukulaj | Dec 21, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312369344, Hardcover)

Peter Rabbit, Mr. McGregor, and many other Beatrix Potter characters remain in the hearts of millions. However, though Potter is a household name around the world, few know the woman behind the illustrations. Her personal life, including a romantic relationship with her publisher, Norman Warne, and her significant achievements outside of children's literature remain largely unknown. In Linda Lear's enchanting new biography, we get the life story of this incredible, funny, and independent woman. As one of the first female naturalists in the world, Potter brought the beauty and importance of nature back into the imagination at a time when plunder was more popular than preservation. Through her art she sought to encourage conservation and change the world. With never before seen illustrations and intimate detail, Lear goes beyond our perrenial fascination with Potter as a writer and illustrator of children's books, and delves deeply into the life of a most unusual and gifted woman--one whose art was timeless, and whose generosity left an indelible imprint on the countryside.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:18 -0400)

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Details the life of the children's author and illustrator who created such memorable characters as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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