Manifold Nature: John Burroughs and the North American Review

$12.95

Edited by J. D. Schraffenberger

ISBN: 978-0-915996-11-7

"John Burroughs wrote about the natural world with keen eyes, poetic elegance and indefatigable goodwill. His essays on the wonders of the Catskills and Hudson River Valley launched the modern environmental movement. Like Walt Whitman—his idol—Burroughs was an American saint."

—Douglas Brinkley author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America and Rightful Heritage: Roosevelt and the Land of America


"John Burroughs is known today primarily for his companionable essays about the animals, flowers, trees, and wild patterns visible near his Hudson River home. In his own day, however, he was also known as an influential and often subversive thinker. During the period spanned by the essays in this volume—1889 - 1920— he helped to inspire widespread interest in natural history, scientific inquiry, and conservation. He defended evolutionary theory against its theological critics. He championed science as our surest way of understanding the observable universe. He insisted that Nature—which he capitalized—is neither benevolent nor hostile toward humankind, but sublimely indifferent, forever creating new forms, dissolving them, and creating afresh. We can flourish, he argued, only by aligning ourselves with that extravagant and unfathomable impulse. He believed that anyone who paid rapt attention to the natural world should feel no need for a supernatural one. Earth was heaven enough for him. How bracing it is to read these vigorous, searching essays. They are testimony to the vital role the North American Review has played in the intellectual life of America. Long may the magazine live as a home for bold thinking and fine art."

—Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto

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