Books & Essays
Bartram's Living Legacy: The Travels and the Nature of the South
Mercer University Press 2010
Gerald Thurmond's essay is entitled "Words for the Birds."
Bartram?s Living Legacy: the Travels and the Nature of the South reprints Bartram?s classic work alongside essays acknowledging the debt southern nature writers owe the man called the ?South?s Thoreau.? The book was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award.
The anthology includes contributions from sixteen of the South?s finest nature writers: Bill Belleville, Kathryn Braund, Dixon Bynum, Christopher Camuto, Thomas Rain Crowe, Dorinda Dallmeyer, Doug Davis, Jan DeBlieu, Whit Gibbons, Thomas Hallock, John Lane, Drew Lanham, Roger Pinckney, Janisse Ray, Matt Smith, and Gerald Thurmond, strikingly illustrated with Bartram-inspired landscape paintings by Philip Juras.
Book Review #1:
"The ecosystems that once defined the southern landscape have disappeared, as though some cataclysmic geological event had simply obliterated them. We know of them chiefly through William Bartram's Travels published in 1791. It would be about two centuries before a group of southeastern writers/naturalists/activists began to survey the landscape that we are left with, and to think about the consequences of what has been lost, and the power, beauty, and richness of what remains. Dorinda Dallmeyer, the editor of this wonderfully conceived volume, has been at the center of that group. Her idea of combining the text of the Travels with reflections by contemporary southern writers is a brilliant one. Bartram remains an indispensable writer, whose work has been neglected for too long. Now at last he, his book, and the land he describes have their champions. Some of the essayists here focus on Bartram the man, some on Bartram the naturalist, some on Bartram the writer and artist. And some focus, as he himself had done, on the landscape and ecology of the South as it now is, and as it once was.
Some of the essayists in this book I have known and admired for years; some are entirely new to me. They do not speak with one voice, or on behalf of any preconceived agenda. But their contributions, taken all together, indicate that the South now has its own distinctive tradition of environmental literature. Bartram, not Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, or John Burroughs, is its progenitor, and this book, I believe, will come to be seen as its cornerstone."
ISLE Autumn 2010