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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: 0.75" Width: 7" Height: 9"
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Faith in a Seed contains the hitherto unpublished work The Dispersion of Seeds, one of Henry D. Thoreau's last important research and writing projects, and now his first new book to appear in 125 years.With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 was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He graduated from Harvard in 1837, the same year he began his lifelong Journal. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau became a key member of the Transcendentalist movement that included Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott. The Transcendentalists' faith in nature was tested by Thoreau between 1845 and 1847 when he lived for twenty-six months in a homemade hut at Walden Pond. While living at Walden, Thoreau worked on the two books published during his lifetime: Walden (1854) and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). Several of his other works, including The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and Excursions, were published posthumously. Thoreau died in Concord, at the age of forty-four, in 1862.

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
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  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
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  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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