An elegant and faithful reproduction of a classic. Celebrated naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton was born in County Durham in 1860 and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy in London. He grew up in Toronto and from an early age his overriding passion was observation of the natural world. He spent countless hours in the woods discovering plants and fungi and quietly observing creatures of all sizes and species. He kept meticulous notes and drawings, building “an accurate account of the creature’s ways, habits, changing whims, and emotions.” In his early 20s, Seton joined his brother on a homestead in Manitoba. He continued to dedicate himself to careful observation of animals in their element, and their relationships with humans, supporting himself through trapping and sales of his drawings and stories. Wild Animals I Have Known is a collection of short stories written by Seton about animals he encountered. It was published in 1898, selling out in three weeks and reprinted 28 times. It made Seton an instant celebrity and a popular lecturer. The book has been published in a dozen languages and has never been out of print, which speaks volumes about the popularity and appeal of this classic book. Wild Animals I Have Known opens with Seton’s most famous story, Lobo, The King of Currumpaw. It tells the true story of when Seton was hired by ranchers to trap Lobo, leader of a pack of wolves which over the years had killed dozens of sheep and cattle. The hunt was successful but the story tragic. Seton would later regret his actions, having recognized that the human desire to overcome the wild reveals the innate human desire to exist in harmony with nature. Lobo was key to Seton’s transformation into a conservationist, but while swearing off hunting he would defend his telling of nature’s brutality: “The fact that these stories are true is the reason why all are tragic. The life of a wild animal always has a tragic end.” Seton went on to write more than fifty books and hundreds of magazine articles, and delivered countless public lectures in the service of animal and habitat conservation. His stories established a moral connection between people and animals, and helped to change society’s consciousness about the treatment of animals and the natural environment. He lobbied for the creation of national parks and fought for protections for wildlife. Today he is remembered for Lobo but scarcely as one of the lead authors of wildlife conservation. The stories in Wild Animals I Have Known are illustrated with Seton’s original drawings as published in the first edition and bound in a fauxleather, embossed hardback binding – which will make this restored edition a fine gift. This lovely reproduction in the spirit of the original is an essential addition to personal and school libraries, all circulating collections and gift tables.
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