Long recognized as an American classic, BartramâsÂ Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West FloridaÂ (1791) recounts his journeys through the wilderness from 1773 to 1776 in prose famous for its celebratory intensity and lyrical profusion. In the forests, rivers, swamps, and savannahs of the South, Bartram collected botanical specimens and made wildlife drawings, observing the natural abundance around him with a vision shaped by both science and Quaker spirituality. His great descriptive passages reveal him as a poet of the landscape, finding sublime vistas in every shift of light and weather. Whether watching a roaring alligator emerging from a lake, spending the night on an uninhabited island, exuberantly cataloguing the flora of the wilderness, or enjoying the hospitality of Indian tribes, Bartram presents a moving, detailed vision of many living in harmony with nature. Thoreau, Emerson, Cooper, Chateaubriand, Coleridge (in âKubla Khanâ), and Wordsworth drew extensively on the lush imagery of the Travels, which was the most influential pieces of American nature writing beforeÂ Walden.
Also included in the volume is the sparer and more factual original report of Bartramâs Southern travels that he sent to his English patron, John Fothergill, as well as a comprehensive collection of his scientific and ethnographic papers. Especially fascinating is his sympathetic and vividly detailedÂ Observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians, long unavailable.
A special feature of this edition is a rich selection of Bartramâs drawings, which share with theÂ TravelsÂ a capacity for finding wonder in the simplest manifestations of nature. Many of the drawings are privately owned and had been seen previously by only a handful of collectors. Some of the most beautiful are produced in full color. Extensive notes, a glossary of botanical terms, a newly researched chronology of Bartramâs life, a map tracing the route of his travels, and an index guide the reader.
LIBRARY OF AMERICAÂ is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nationâs literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, Americaâs best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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