cover image Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings

Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings

Henry David Thoreau / Author, Bradley P. Dean / Editor, Abigail Rorer /

At his death in 1862, naturalist Thoreau left behind a dozen notebooks and other materials. From those hard-to-decipher handwritten pages, Dean, the editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin , has rescued an unexpected treasure--Thoreau's scientific study of how one plant species succeeds another through seed dispersal. The book includes several shorter pieces, but ``The Dispersal of Seeds'' is what will lure Thoreau buffs and students. The philosopher of Walden emerges as a dedicated scientific observer, revealing how wind, weather and animals move seeds about to produce new plants. Specialists will appreciate the perspective this book gives on Thoreau's place in the science of his time, refuting as he does the then-prevalent notions of immutability of species and the spontaneous generation of plants. The real treat is for general readers: a chance once again to hear Thoreau's precise, wonderful voice as he roams his beloved woods and finds ``the very earth itself as a granary and a seminary.'' The book is a dazzling debut for Island's Shearwater imprint. Illustrated. ( Apr.)