The letters of the eminent naturalist Gilbert White are full of precise, unaffected and delightful observations of the wildlife of his beloved village of Selborne, describing the habits, colours and songs of birds from lapwings to barn-owls, wrens to house-martins. Here too are exquisite writings on trees, fossils, bats and rainfall, filled with intellectual curiosity and joy in the natural world.Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
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.
Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne (1789) reveals a world of wonders in nature. Over a period of twenty years White describes in minute detail the behaviour of animals through the changing seasons in the rural Hampshire parish of Selborne. He notes everything from the habits of an eccentric tortoise to the mysteries of bird migration and animal reproduction, with the purpose of inspiring others to observe their own surroundings with the same
pleasure and attention.
Written as a series of letters, White's book has all the immediacy and freshness of an exchange with friends, yet it is none the less crafted with compelling literary skill. His gossipy correspondence has delighted readers from Charles Darwin to Virginia Woolf, and it has been read as a nostalgic evocation of a pastoral vision, a model for local studies of plants and animals, and a precursor to modern ecology. This new edition includes contemporary illustrations and an introduction setting the
work in its eighteenth-century context, as well as an appendix tracking the remarkable range of responses to the work over the last two hundred years.