For the first time, the collected essays of a uniquely elegant science and nature writer: profound, intimate reflections on evolution and other wonders of the natural world in the tradition of Thoreau, Darwin, and Muir. Second of two volumes.
An eminent paleontologist with the soul and skill of a poet, Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) was among the 20th-century's greatest inheritors of the literary tradition of Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, and John Muir, and a precursor to such later writers as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Carl Sagan. After decades of fieldwork and discovery as a "bone-hunter" and professor, he turned, late in life, to the personal essay, producing an astonishing succession of books that won acclaim both as science and as art. Here, for the first time in a single edition, are all of Eiseley's beloved, thought-provoking, meditative, sometimes darkly lyrical essay collections, from his surprise bestseller The Immense Journey (1957) to his posthumous The Star Thrower (1978). Eiseley's subjects are wide-ranging, curious, and meticulously realized: the role of flowering plants in evolution; a disturbing insect, seen in childhood; the questions raised by a new fossil; a forgotten episode in the history of science. Beginning with fact and vivid detail, Eiseley is fearless in pursuit of the cosmological dimensions of the phenomena he describes: he is a writer one cannot encounter without a renewed sense of wonder.