By Gene Stratton-Porter
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Extra info for Coming through the swamp: the nature writings of Gene Stratton Porter
Even when her books are found, her work as a naturalist continues to be overshadowed by the popularity of her novels. Bertrand F. Richards, one of her biographers, bemoans the neglect of her nature writings, particularly chastising Joseph Wood Krutch for leaving her out of his 1950 anthology of American nature writing. Only one naturalist, Annie Dillard, included a Stratton Porter workMoths of the Limberlostin her booklist that was part of the 1986 publication On Nature: Nature, Landscape, and Natural History.
Gene Stratton Porter set all but one of her novels in rural areas, gardens, wilderness areas. She wanted her readers to experience some of the wonder with which she beheld nature in all of its moods and seasons. Yet there was more to her perception of a life out of doors than awe. Some of the major characters in her books live through disease or live with disabilities. Their time in the natural world often cures or relieves their physical ailments. The protagonist of The Bee Keeper cures his war Page xiv wounds with vitamin C and daily ocean bathing; the major character of The Harvester is a herbalist whose cures bring him a national reputation.
The entire process is utterly devoid of sentiment, attachment or volition on the part of the creatures involved. They work out a law as inevitable as that which swings suns, moons, and planets in their courses. They are the most fragile and beautiful result of natural law with which I am acquainted. Yet her writing is imbued with feeling by the awareness of the transient nature of this beauty. Photographs and words are reflections and interpretations of what was once immediate experience. Not only that; some of the poignant awareness of loss that colors our readings of the works of a naturalist such as Gene Stratton Porter comes from our knowledge of the losses which have been sustained since the time of the writing.
Coming through the swamp: the nature writings of Gene Stratton Porter by Gene Stratton-Porter