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Signs & Seasons

Signs & Seasons
John Burroughs
Syracuse University Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 388 p., $24.95

This new edition of a work by John Burroughs (1836–1921) celebrates his pioneering role in a new school of nature-writing in the nineteenth century. Edited and critiqued by geologist and environmental educator Jeff Walker, this collection of essays includes a wide range of subjects describing Burroughs’ intimate observations of nature close to home, told in a simple, timeless literary style. According to Walker, Burroughs believed that people should be “active participants in the natural world,” not just observers. The author’s remarks are relevant to many of today’s environmental issues, and yet he takes us back to the time when ‘ice harvesting’ was a winter ritual and such conservation issues as the collecting of wild bird eggs by the wealthy was debated. Readers are sure to chuckle over such wise comments as “Dogmatism about nature, or about anything else, very often turns out to be an ungrateful cur that bites the hand that reared it.”

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden