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Under a wild sky : John James Audubon and the making of the Birds of America

Author: William Souder
Publisher: New York : North Point Press, ©2004.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Traces the life of John James Audubon, his efforts to record the wild birds of North America, and his fifteen-year struggle against a conventional scientific establishment to find a publisher for his masterwork, "The Birds of America."
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Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: John James Audubon; John James Audubon; John James Audubon
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: William Souder
ISBN: 0865476713 9780865476714
OCLC Number: 53839872
Description: 367 pages, [8] pages of illustrations : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Part one : Audubon and Wilson. Philadelphia --
Coming across --
A name for every living thing --
Lessons --
A beautiful plantation --
The forester --
The exquisite river --
Mr. Wilson's decade --
Part two : The Birds of America. At the Red Banks --
Kentucky home --
Legions of the air --
Ever since a boy --
Edinburgh --
Dearest friend --
My great work --
After.
Responsibility: William Souder.
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Abstract:

Traces the life of John James Audubon, his efforts to record the wild birds of North America, and his fifteen-year struggle against a conventional scientific establishment to find a publisher for his masterwork, "The Birds of America."

In the century and a half since John James Audubon's death, his name has become synonymous with wildlife conservation and natural history. But few people know what a complicated figure he was -- or the dramatic story behind The Birds of America. Before Audubon, ornithological illustrations depicted scaled-down birds perched in static poses. Wheeling beneath storm-racked skies or ripping flesh from newly killed prey, Audubon's life-sized birds looked as if they might fly screeching off the page. The wildness in the images matched the untamed spirit in Audubon -- a self-taught painter and self-anointed aristocrat who, with his buckskins and long hair, wanted to be seen as both a hardened frontiersman and a cultured man of science. In truth, neither his friends nor his detractors ever knew exactly who Audubon was or where he came from. Tormented by the ambiguities surrounding his birth, he reinvented himself ceaselessly, creating a life as dramatic as his fictionalizations of it. But when he came east at thirty-eight -- broke and desperate to find a publisher for his birds -- he ran squarely into a scientific establishment still wedded to convention and suspicious of the brash newcomer and his grandiose claims. It took Audubon fifteen years to prevail in both his project and his vision. How he triumphed and what drove him are the subjects of this gripping narrative. - Jacket flap.

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