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White, Gilbert - The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne Large Format Edition - ( Item 129423 )

Published in London by Folio Society. 2009. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Very Good+ slipcase. Some marks to panels of slipcase. Three-quarter bound in buckram, front board printed and blocked with a design by Neil Gower. Set in Baskerville, gilded top edge, ribbon marker. 400 pages with 70 full-page colour plates. Size: 13 x 9 ins. Specially commissioned index and introduction by Sir Keith Thomas. The Natural History of Selborne is both a pioneering work of natural history and a landmark of English literature. This edition, beautifully bound and illustrated, has been modelled on the large quarto editions produced in the late 18th century: a fitting homage to this much-loved work. The Reverend Gilbert White was born in Selborne in 1720, and lived there for most of his life. The gentle pace of life in a village of fewer than 400 inhabitants allowed him to pursue his passion: observing the birds, insects and animals around him. From the peregrine falcon captured by a neighbour to the humble dormouse, all creatures were of interest to White. He longed to share his discoveries with like-minded people beyond the confines of his parish, and his correspondence with the naturalist Daines Barrington and the traveller Thomas Pennant forms the basis of The Natural History of Selborne. The late 18th century was a great age of scientific discovery, in which scientists like Carl Linnaeus and John Ray attempted a grand taxonomy of nature. White was familiar with their theories, but rather than confine himself to classifying specimens, he preferred to observe animals in the wild. He coaxed field crickets out of their burrows with a blade of grass, watched the migrating swifts flying over his church tower, and noticed the soft spines and 'little hanging ears' of baby hedgehogs. By studying his local wildlife in their habitat rather than in the laboratory, White became the first true field biologist and the founding father of nature writing as we understand it today. The 70 pages of illustrations include the 12 watercolour views of Selborne by Hieronymus Grimm as well as illustrations by Peter Mazell from Thomas Pennant's British Zoology (1766). The main text is supplemented with two additional letters: 'Timothy the Tortoise to Miss Hecky Mulso' and 'On the Sense of Hearing in Fishes'. A detailed new index is a testament to the breadth of White's interests, while a newly commissioned introduction by Sir Keith Thomas explores the nature of White's genius.

Price 67.10 (inc UK postage)                 Other items you may like                 Others by the same author

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