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Wake-Robin. By:John Burroughs: Birds,United States, Natural history

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Wake-Robin. By:John Burroughs: Birds,United States, Natural history.pdf | Language: English

John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and nature essayist, active in the U.S. conservation movement.The first of his essay collections was Wake-Robin in 1871. In the words of his biographer Edward Renehan, Burroughs' special identity was less that of a scientific naturalist than that of "a literary naturalist with a duty to record his own unique perceptions of the natural world." The result was a body of work whose resonance with the tone of its cultural moment explains both its popularity at that time, and its relative obscurity since. Burroughs was the seventh of Chauncy and Amy Kelly Burroughs' ten children. He was born on the family farm in the Catskill Mountains, near Roxbury in Delaware County, New York. As a child he spent many hours on the slopes of Old Clump Mountain, looking off to the east and the higher peaks of the Catskills, especially Slide Mountain, which he would later write about. As he labored on the family farm he was captivated by the return of the birds each spring and other wildlife around the family farm including frogs and bumblebees. In his later years he credited his life as a farm boy for his subsequent love of nature and feeling of kinship with all rural things. During his teen years Burroughs showed a keen interest in learning.Among Burroughs's classmates was future financier Jay Gould.Burroughs' father believed the basic education provided by the local school was enough and refused to support the young Burroughs when he asked for money to pay for the books or the higher education he wanted. At the age of 17 Burroughs left home to earn the money he needed for college by teaching at a school in Olive, New York. From 1854 to 1856 Burroughs alternated periods of teaching with periods of study at higher education institutions including Cooperstown Seminary; he left the Seminary and completed his studies in 1856. He continued to teach until 1863. In 1857 Burroughs left a teaching position in the small village of Buffalo Grove in Illinois to seek employment closer to home, drawn back by "the girl I left behind me."On September 12, 1857, Burroughs married Ursula North (1836–1917). Burroughs later became an atheist with an inclination towards pantheism.....
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  • PDF | 90 pages
  • CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 10, 2016)
  • English
  • 9
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Marcia Speicher on December 1, 2012

    My grandmother read Wake-Robin to me on her lap, looking out towards the fields and bird feeders. Burroughs teaches all about birds and their life. He paints, through stories, what Audubon did with a paintbrush. This is a must read. Not meant to be read all at once; but rather by the fire in winter, down by the pond in summer, sitting on a park bench as the birds sing around you, tucked into your backpack on a hike. Wake-Robin is the takealong guide for bird lovers who want to do more than just identify them by feather or call. This book (I have the old hardback) is one of my treasures. Kindle version is obviously easier to tuck into a pocket and take along.

  • By Bill Birns on May 20, 2014

    John Burroughs invented the Nature Essay, writing about birds and the outdoors in a scientifically accurate way, infused with a philosophic tone and commitment to personal authenticity and simplicity in living. We need Burroughs now more than ever! He leads the way towards a life in nature: simple, uncluttered, thoughtful, seeking truth.

  • By G Flan on April 2, 2016

    This book was recommended by Theodore Roosevelt.I found it interesting as I am familiar with the areas visited and enjoythe birds and wildlife described.A classic early nature study.

  • By Ralph White on May 28, 2008

    "According to biographers at the American Memory project at the Library of Congress, John Burroughs was the most important practitioner after Thoreau of that especially American literary genre, the nature essay. By the turn of the century he had become a virtual cultural institution in his own right: the Grand Old Man of Nature at a time when the American romance with the idea of nature, and the American conservation movement, had come fully into their own." (Wikipedia)Wake Robin is the first of Burroughs' published essays. The title is taken from the common name of the white trillium, which blooms just as migratory birds (including robins) show up in the northern states in the Spring. Burroughs is an ardent reporter of the natural world, and of songbirds in particular. His writing, however, is not that of the well-informed naturalist. Wake Robin reads more like a diary of his wanderings and his casual observations in the woods. Burroughs' reputation as a co-founder of the conservation movement is likely due more to the timing of his publications than on their content. In the modern era we look for more than the musings of an unstudied amateur when we wish to become better informed about the natural world.Clearly adapted from entries in his personal diary, Burroughs' writing is frequently self-conscious, detracting from his message. He labors at his craft, but when it works, it is very good. Speaking of the wood or bush sparrow, he says, "It was a perfect piece of wood music, and was, of course, all the more noticeable for being projected upon such a broad unoccupied page of silence." Burroughs wrote just after the Civil War and he frequently references and credits Henry Thoreau, who wrote just before the Civil War. It is difficult not to compare the writings and observations of the two. In fact, Burroughs' writing suffers in the comparison.The early conservation movement needed a few articulate reporters, and Burroughs was ahead of his time in writing of his woodland meanderings. No one will be drawn to Burroughs for his craft at writing, but we should credit him with his inspiration, and appreciate Wake Robin for what it is, "an invitation to the study of ornithology."


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