John Burroughs: An American Naturalist

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Black Dome Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 358 pages
"John is so calm, so poised, so much at home with himself, so much a familiar spirit of the forests, " wrote Walt Whitman of his friend, the naturalist and writer John Burroughs. "He is a child of the woods, fields, hills - native to them in a rare sense (in a sense almost a miracle)." Henry James called Burroughs "a more humorous, more available and more sociable Thoreau. James wrote that "the minuteness of Burroughs's observation, the keenness of his perception, give him a real originality, and his sketches have a delightful oddity, vivacity, and freshness." Burroughs was born in 1837, the same year that Henry Thoreau graduated from Harvard. Along with Thoreau and John Muir, he was one of the nineteenth century's most popular and preeminent nature writers. In the course of his long life, Burroughs authored more than twenty-eight books on natural history and literature. Writing during the increasingly industrial decades of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Burroughs stayed constant to the transcendental message of his idols - Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. During what Mark Twain called the "faithless" era of the Gilded Age, Burroughs urged his readers to go to the woods to develop a relationship with nature that did not "vulgarize it and rob it of its divinity." In this outstanding new book - the first full biography of John Burroughs to be published since 1925 - Edward J Renehan, Jr. draws on a wealth of previously unpublished manuscripts, journals, and letters to reveal the life of the dean of American nature writers. Renehan describes Burroughs's relationships with some of the most notable figures of his time, including Jay Gould, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, Thomas Edison, John Muir, E. H. Harriman, Andrew Carnegie, Oscar Wilde and especially Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Ford, with whom he developed complicated and enduring friendships.

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JOHN BURROUGHS: An American Naturalist

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John Burroughs (1837-1921) might have wished for more poetry in this biography by free-lance writer Renehan (The American Scholar, The Conservationist, etc.), but he couldn't have asked for a more ... Read full review

John Burroughs: an American naturalist

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see Burroughs, John. Birch Browsings: A John Burroughs Reader. Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Edward J. Renehan Jr. is a fifth generation New Yorker. He now lives in coastal Rhode Island.

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