AUDUBON, BY HIMSELF by Alice--Ed. Ford


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It seems to be a popular pastime these days to construct ""autobiographies"" from the works of those who chatted about themselves here and there but who never, produced a completed self history. If one is inclined to feel that any Audubon writing is entertaining and full of surprises, if more than a bit scattered in syntax, this new mix will certainly be useful. To be sure, Miss Ford is not too helpful in the way of discussing the genesis or routing of the many sources, and there is really no clear statement as to what kind of editing has been done, and by whom. However, one reads on with pleasure. ""My life,"" states Audubon at one point, ""was a succession of vicissitudes. . . doubtless because my whole mind was ever filled with my passion for rambling."" And ramble he did, through a good deal of America, and briefly in Europe, exploring, sketching, observing. There are many enchanting personal asides--like his grieving over $40.00 spent on sprucing up, which included a haircut: "". . . my appearance altered beyond my expectations. . . fully as much as a handsome bird robbed of his feathers."" From an account of his birth (here he admits to Haiti in 1785) to a trip to the Yellowstone River in 1843, this is a happy patchwork of major and minor doings in the life of the naturalist. Includes a brief appendix and illustrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday