Perfumier and the stinkhorn: six personal essays on natural science and romanticism.

Perfumier and the stinkhorn: six personal essays on natural science and romanticism. Richard Mabey.

London: Profile Books, 2011. Octavo, illustrations, fine copy in dustwrapper.

This title contains inspiring meditations through the author's rich store of memories. In these elegant, short essays, revered nature writer Richard Mabey, attempts to marry a romantic's view of the natural world with that of the meticulous observations of the scientist. By romanticism he refers to the view that nature isn't a machine to be dissected, but a community of which we, the observers, are inextricably part. And that our feelings about that community are a perfectly proper subject for reflection, because they shape our relationship with it. Scientists eshew such a subjective response, wanting to witness the natural world exactly, whatever feelings subsequently follow. Our feelings are an extension of our senses - sight, taste, smell, touch and sound - and here, in a sextet of inspiring meditations, Mabey explores each sensory response in what it means to interact with nature. From birdsong to poetry, from Petri-dish to microscope, this is a joyful union of meandering thoughts and intimate memories.

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