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In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World.

In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World, photographs by Eliot Porter, text by Henry David Thoreau. Sierra Club Books, 730 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109 (1988). Large format, hardcover, 168 pp., $35.

This commemorative reissue of a 1962 book combines new color separations of 72 shots by noted photographer Eliot Porter with selections from the writings of Thoreau. The result is a stunning celebration of the timeless beauty of the New England countryside.

This juxtaposition of sensitive talents, though their heydays were separated by a century, is truly symbiotic art. As David Brower describes it in his foreward: "Eliot Porter corroborates Thoreau and Thoreau verifies Porter, one never diminishing the other. " This collaboration, Brower notes, is part of the growing body of proof that the natural and civilized worlds must live together or perish separately. "

Neither Thoreau nor Porter seeks out the sensational. There are no tempests here, or winding glaciers, or soaring eagles. To this pair, borrowing from Joseph Wood Krutch's introduction, "The chickadee and the violet are ... as striking as the flametree or the bird of paradise." However, these words and photos "shock us into awareness" by revealing the stupendous elements of the commonplace and the familiar-the red osiers of springtime, summer's dewy cobweb napkins, winter-bent reeds.

The book's quality paper might be expected to produce greater sharpness and richer colors than appear in a few of the scenes. But this is a minor shortcoming. This one will find a place on my bookshelves.- BILL ROONEY
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Forests
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rooney, Bill
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1989
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