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Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion Of Seeds And Other Late Natural History Writings [Paperback]

By Henry David Thoreau, Bradley P. Dean (Editor), Abigail Rorer (Illustrator) & Robert D. Richardson (Introduction by)
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Item Number 121562  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   301
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.86" Width: 6.76" Height: 0.77"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 1996
Publisher   Island Press
ISBN  1559631821  
EAN  9781559631822  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Faith in a Seed contains the hitherto unpublished work The Dispersion of Seeds, one of Henry D. Thoreau's last important research and writing projects, and now his first new book to appear in 125 years.With the remarkable clarity and grace that characterize all of his writings, Thoreau describes the ecological succession of plant species through seed dispersal. "The Dispersion of Seeds," which draws on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, refutes the then widely accepted theory that some plants spring spontaneously to life, independent of roots, cuttings, or seeds. As Thoreau wrote: "Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Henry D. Thoreau's "Faith in a Seed," was first published in hardcover in 1993 by Island Press under the Shearwater Books imprint, which unifies scientific views of nature with humanistic ones. This important work, the first publication of Thoreau's last manuscript, is now available in paperback. "Faith in a Seed" contains Thoreau's last important research and writing project, "The Dispersion of Seeds," along with other natural history writings from late in his life. Edited by Bradley P. Dean, professor of English at East Carolina University and editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin, these writings demonstrate how a major American author at the height of his career succeeded in making science and literature mutually enriching.

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More About Henry David Thoreau, Bradley P. Dean, Abigail Rorer & Robert D. Richardson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Henry David Thoreau (1817 1862) was born and lived the greater part of his life in Concord, Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard, where he became a disciple of Emerson, and after graduating in 1837 returned to Concord to teach school with his brother. In Concord, he became acquainted with the members of the Transcendentalist Club and grew especially close to Emerson, for whom he worked as a handyman. Thoreau also began to write for The Dial and other magazines, and in 1839 he made the boat trip that became the subject of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). On July 4, 1845, he moved into the hut he d constructed on Walden Pond, where he remained until September 6, 1847 a sojourn that inspired his great work Walden, published in 1854. In the 1850s, Thoreau became increasingly active in the abolitionist cause, meeting John Brown at Emerson s house in 1857 and, after the attack on Harpers Ferry, writing passionately in Brown s defense. Short trips to Maine and Cape Cod resulted in two post humously published books (The Maine Woods and Cape Cod), and a visit to New York led to a meeting with Walt Whitman. Suffering from tuberculosis, Thoreau traveled to the Great Lakes for the sake of his health, but finding no improvement and realizing that he was going to die, returned home to Concord to put his papers in order and to write his final essays, drawing as always on the Journal, the work that was the source of all his other works and the defining undertaking of his adult life.
Damion Searls is the author of Everything You Say Is True, a travelogue, and What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going, stories. He is also an award-winning translator from German, French, Norwegian, and Dutch, most recently of Rainer Maria Rilke s The Inner Sky: Poems, Notes, Dreams and Marcel Proust s On Reading. He has produced an experimental edition of Herman Melville s Moby-Dick, called; or The Whale, and his translation of the Dutch writer Nescio s stories is forthcoming from NYRB Classics.
John R. Stilgoe is the author of many books and the Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard University."

Henry David Thoreau lived in the state of Massachusetts. Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 and died in 1862.

Henry David Thoreau has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Barnes & Noble Classics
  2. Compact Novel Journal
  3. Concord Library
  4. Dover Thrift Editions
  5. Enriched Classics (Pocket)
  6. Everyman Paperback
  7. Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics
  8. Library of America
  9. Literary Naturalist
  10. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  11. Modern Library of the World's Best Books
  12. Modern Spiritual Masters
  13. New England Landmarks
  14. New York Review Books Classics
  15. Penguin American Library
  16. Penguin Classics
  17. Penguin Nature Classics
  18. Princeton Classic Editions
  19. Yale Nota Bene

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Remarkable Volume  Jul 26, 2007
This book contains the manuscript of one of Thoreau's last works, The Dispersion of Seeds. Through his daily walks in the woods, Thoreau became fascinated with the question of how the plants he was seeing became established. A puzzling riddle of the time that local townsmen constantly asked was why when they cut pine forests, oak forests seemed to grow up, and when they cut oak forests, pine forests would take their place. Thoreau was uniquely able to answer such questions, since he had spent years wandering through the forests, taking notes on everything he saw. In this volume, he not only provides answers to the pine-oak riddle, but he also lays to rest the idea of spontaneous generation of plants, which was still accepted in many circles at the time he wrote this book.

This book represents perhaps some of Thoreau's greatest works in ecology. In it, he lays out his own theory of forest succession based on ecological observation and experimentation. He was one of the first to understand forest succession on the American continent, working almost entirely alone, with little previous research in the literature to draw on. Not only is the book a magnificent ecological study, but the text itself is sheer pleasure to read, being a prime example of Thoreau's well-crafted prose.
A wonderful addition to any Thoreauvian's library  Sep 14, 1998
Faith in a Seed, a collection of Henry David Thoreau's late nature writings, deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the plant sciences or Thoreau's life and work. This volume consists of four previously-unpublished manuscripts, which the author left uncompleted when he died in 1862. Although compiled of rough drafts, Faith in a Seed is still very readable and enjoyable. Thoreau's last major project, The Dispersion of Seeds, fills most of this book. In it, he describes the seeds of various New England plants, as well as how they are disseminated by way of animals and the elements. The philosopher of Walden Pond roams the woods, fields, and swamps of "a world that is already planted, but is also still being planted as at first." Although this is a scientific work, Thoreau's wonderful voice and way with metaphor permeates every page, making for a very pleasurable read. Of historical interest, Thoreau was one of the first American scientists to embrace Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The idea of an ever-changing earth coincided with Thoreau's own beliefs. He felt that "the development theory implies a greater vital force in Nature, because it is more flexible and accommodating, and equivalent to a sort of constant new creation." In addition to the cornerstone of this book, The Dispersion of Seeds, three shorter selections are included. In Wild Fruits, Thoreau writes about the joys of hunting for wild berries, and teaches that "the value of any experience is measured, not by the amount of money, but the amount of development we get out of it." Weeds and Grasses and Forest Trees elaborate on the ideas of plant propagation and forest succession illustrated in The Dispersion of Seeds. On the whole, I found this book to be a welcome addition to my Thoreau collection. Even in his late years, as he became more and more interested in the technicalities of nature, he still dearly loved the wild; and this comes through in Faith in a Seed. Come, saunter with Henry through dark pitch-pine groves, the huckleberry fields of Fair Haven Hill, and the seedling-lined banks of the Concord River. Discover that "the very earth itself is a granary and a seminary."

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