Original autograph manuscript signed

John BURROUGHS   |   Gilbert WHITE

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Item#: 127122 price:$9,000.00

Original autograph manuscript signed
Original autograph manuscript signed
Original autograph manuscript signed

"ONE OF THE FEW BOOKS WHICH I CAN RETURN TO AND RE-READ EVERY SIX OR SEVEN YEARS": ORIGINAL 1895 JOHN BURROUGHS MANUSCRIPT FOR HIS INTRODUCTION TO GILBERT WHITE'S 1789 CLASSIC THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SELBORNE, SIGNED

BURROUGHS, John. Original autograph manuscript in Burroughs' hand, the Introduction for Harper & Brothers 1895 edition of Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne, signed. No place, 1895. Octavo (5 by 8 inches), 29 leaves of wove paper, written in ink on rectos for 29 pages, signed by Burroughs on the last leaf in pencil. $9000.

Original John Burroughs 29-page ink manuscript for his Introduction to Gilbert White's 1789 classic of nature writing, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, signed by Burroughs in pencil on the final page.

"One of the few books which I can return to and re-read every six or seven years," Burroughs writes at the outset of his 29-page Introduction to Appleton's 1895 edition of Gilbert White's 1789 classic, "is this book of Gilbert White's. It has a perennial charm. It is made like country things themselves. One does not read it with excitement or eager avidity; it is in a low key; it touches only upon minor matters; it is not eloquent or witty or profound; it has only now and then a twinkle of humor or a glint of fancy. And yet it has lived an hundred years and promises to live many hundreds of years more."

Over the course of twenty years, Gilbert White wrote a series of letters to Thomas Pennant and Daines Barrington regarding the habits of animals and of natural phenomena which he was daily observing in Selborne. "His Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne holds a unique position in English literature as the solitary classic of natural history… The book was immediately popular both with the general public and with all naturalists, many of the most eminent of which class have successively edited it with additional and corroborative notes" (Cambridge History X, Chapter XI, Section 16). On an 1882 trip to Britain, "Burroughs made a pilgrimage to Gilbert White's old haunts at Selborne and Wolmer Forest… Burroughs spent several hours searching for White's tomb amid the graves of the church where he had been parson. He finally found a plain slab with 'G.W.' inscribed on it. 'There was no mark that indicated that the grave was more frequently visited than any other'" (Renehan, John Burroughs, 147). Commenting on comparisons of his writings to those of White, Burroughs wrote 'The aim of White of Selborne was mainly scientific. My own aim, so far as I have any, is entirely artistic. I care little for the merely scientific aspects of things… I paint the bird, or the trout, or the scene, for its own sake'" (Renehan, 96). See BAL 2159.

Many ink finger marks and smudges and signs of handling to versos and rectos; handwriting still perfectly legible. Only occasional light edge-wear. Near-fine condition. A scarce and desirable original Burroughs manuscript.

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