Author Topic: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing  (Read 770 times)

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Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« on: March 14, 2019, 05:46:08 PM »
He’s gone and published a follow up of sorts to Arctic Dreams:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/14/horizon-by-barry-lopez-review

Looks awesome. I highly recommend Arctic Dreams, it’s a hugely influential, beautifully written and wide-ranging book.

Generally anything Robert Macfarlane rhapsodises about is worth a look, most notably The Peregrine and The Living Mountain, both of which have had their profile raised by his endorsement. His own stuff is not too shabby, neither.

Talk about Lopez/Macfarlane! What other nature books do you like?

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Re: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 08:11:02 PM »
Two of my favourite nature books are Richard Jefferies' Story of my Heart, and The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow, the bittersweet diary of a five-year-old naturalist named Opal Whiteley, who named the trees and animals and even potatoes on her farm after Shakespeare characters and historical personages.  When she visited England, we thanked her by throwing her in an asylum for her entire life.  Once went on a pilgrimage to visit her grave in Highgate (and popped by to see old Marxy while I was in the neighbourhood).

Here's a quote from Story of my Heart, which is full of rhapsodies to nature so intense you almost want to tell Jefferies to calm down so's he doesn't damage himself.

Twelve thousand years since the Caveman stood at the mouth of his cavern and gazed out at the night and the stars. He looked again and saw the sun rise beyond the sea. He reposed in the noontide heat under the shade of the trees, he closed his eyes and looked into himself. He was face to face with the earth, the sun, the night; face to face with himself. There was nothing between; no wall of written tradition; no built-up system of culture—his naked mind was confronted by naked earth. He made three idea-discoveries, wrest­ing them from the unknown: the exist­ence of his soul, immortality, the deity. Now to-day, as I write, I stand in exactly the same position as the Caveman. Written tradition, systems of culture, modes of thought, have for me no exist­ence. If ever they took any hold of my mind it must have been very slight; they have long ago been erased. From earth and sea and sun, from night, the stars, from day, the trees, the hills, from my own soul—from these I think. I stand this moment at the mouth of the ancient cave, face to face with nature, face to face with the supernatural, with myself. My naked mind confronts the unknown
.

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Re: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 10:18:01 PM »
Blimey, cheers. I don’t know how that one has passed me by. Exactly my cup of tea.

Re: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 11:03:02 PM »
As a follow-on from The Living Mountain, the writings of Seton Gordon might be of interest.  He was a highly privileged Highland gentleman who was able to indulge his passion for wild places, mountain birds and raptors, apparently the sole full-time naturalist in the UK during the first three decades of the 20th century.  However, he was a gifted writer and decades ahead of his time in his attitudes towards wildlife conservation, continuing to write thoughtfully and with passion almost right up to his death aged 90 in the late 1970s.

Re: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 11:03:59 PM »
On a more contemporary note, Jim Crumley’s books are also well worth seeking out.

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Re: Barry Lopez / Nature Writing
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2019, 02:27:07 PM »

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