ALEXANDER WILSON by Robert Cantwell


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An exhaustive biography of the naturalized American, Alexander Wilson, spends much time on his origins in Scotland and his work as pioneer and naturalist in this country. Son of a smuggler and weaver, he was destined for the ministry but finances forced him into his father's trade; the poetry he wrote was overshadowed by Burns; his arrest and imprisonment and his self concealment are investigated conscientiously. His departure for America and his years of wandering when he was selling his American Ornithology divided his life in two and his writings and drawings of American birds gave an almost photographic picture of the land that he saw. He was an immediate follower on the mystery of Meriwether Lewis' death when he traveled over the Natchez Trace; he met heads of colleges and universities as well as men of all kinds in his efforts to sell the Ornithology; his prodigious work produced eight of the ten books projected; he left a record not only of the wilderness but of the men and women who were taming it. An interesting complement to the work of and a needed enlargement of the life of a lesser known artist, this is a thoroughgoise and apprecialize banlling of its subject.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1961
Publisher: Lippincott