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Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript Paperback – February 17, 2001
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We scarcely know Thoreau better, writes archivist and scholar Bradley Dean: we still remember him today for having spent time in jail and spinning philosophy out of the New England woods. On the strength of this lost, and now published, final manuscript of Thoreau's, Dean would have us think of him as a protoecologist, and for very good reason. In the last years of his life, Thoreau resolved to learn better the science behind nature, and in Wild Fruits he collected the lore and facts surrounding the plants around his home, observing such things as the quantity of chestnuts that local trees were producing, the myriad shapes of pine cones as they unfold, the taste of "fever bush," and the smell of sweet gale.
The unfinished manuscript, cataloging dozens of species, affords a fascinating glimpse into Thoreau's method as an amateur student of nature--a method worthy of close study and imitation. Dean adds greatly to it with his intelligent commentary, which revisits Thoreau's sources, corrects a few of his errors, and emphasizes the writer's importance to natural history and belles-lettres alike. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
There isn't a great deal I feel need to add, as previous reviewers have done a good job already. Over the past year, Thoreau's words on these wild fruits have been steeped in my consciousness. Henry's loving, beautiful depictions of these various gifts of nature were with me as I worked this summer at a garden center, realizing that Henry's "shad bush" and our "serviceberry" were one and the same. After reading this book, I was much more aware of the fruits of my own native Michigan fields and woods-- blackberries, rose hips, elderberries, wild grapes, and viburnums were all there this summer, more numerous and beautiful than ever before. I found myself collecting and tasting plants I never would have thought to try before, Henry's words openened a whole new world to me. Then, in August, I made a pilgrimage to Massachusetts, looking for and tasting the fruits of New England, even the fabled huckleberries, on Cape Cod National Seashore and in the Walden Woods, as I sauntered along the railroad tracks into Concord from the pond. Even this fall, when I came back to my university in Colorado, I discovered and gathered the fruits of the prickly pear cactus, and have saved the seeds, hoping to possibly propagate them.
Read these last sweet words from our friend Henry-- let him teach you to love the simple natural joy that can be found nestled among the shrub-oaks and pitch pines: our free, wild American fruits.
Intertwined with the topic of wild fruit and seed information is more of Thoreau's philosophy, that which has driven me to read him for all these years.
If you like Thoreau, you simply cannot fail to read this piece of his puzzle. I can't wait for someone to tackle and publish what remains of his unpublished work.
Finally, I must say that while closing the final page I was struck with a deep appreciation for the immense effort involved in publishing this book, given the quality of his handwriting and the poor organization of the manuscript. It is indeed appreciated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This isn't a book of discourses for all you just realizing the writings of Thoreau and scanning the web for everything with his name. This is for the John Muir type reader. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. Adkins
While "Wild Fruits" is certainly not a "Walden", there are plenty of Walden-worthy lines in this book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by William G. Schmidt
"Wild Fruits" is book based on an unfinished manuscript written by Henry David Thoreau, otherwise mostly known as the author of "Walden". Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by Ashtar Command
This book is great if you love nature. It has a lot of info about the fruits and plants of New England. Thoreau is very descriptive and you can tell he loves the subject matter. Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Amanda L. Davis
Wild Fruits Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript
1850's This lost manuscript is mostly about Thoreau and his time studying the plants he lives near. Read more
Like features on a face or shadows on the moon, what we remember most is the unusual, the unsmooth, the wart or the wrinkle. Read morePublished on November 27, 2007 by Cecil Bothwell
This book is a collection of notes concerning the timing of various fruits that grow in and around Concord, Massachusetts. Read morePublished on July 18, 2006 by Amazon Customer
What could be more pedestrian than the fruits (talking broadly) of plants - such fruits that include grains of wheat, hips of wild roses, apples, blueberries, etc. Read morePublished on September 29, 2005 by David B Richman