Naturalist, artist, woodsman—all these descriptions fit John James Audubon, and each of them adds its own color to the story of his life. His personality grips the imagination—unflagging energy which drove him from Pennsylvania to Texas, from Florida to Labrador in his unending search for birds; salty humor capable of self-appraisal; unwavering devotion to Lucy his wife. Courage and independence armed him equally against frontier dangers and the slanders and flatteries of civilization. His singleness of purpose never faltered from his boyhood to his death.
Miss Roarke has given years to the study of the prints in the famous "Birds of America" and the original paintings from which these prints were made, and to extensive research which has taken her all over the country to find unfamiliar portraits and black-chalk drawings, mainly in private collections. It is with this background that Miss Roarke has given us the first complete definition of Audubon's place in the development of American art.
To complete the picture, Constance Roarke has followed his trails, seeing the rivers and keys of Florida, the Louisiana bayous, the Ohio River and Mississippi country with eyes as keen and beauty-loving as Audubon's own. From plantations of Feliciana, in St. Francisville, Natchez and New Orleans, Henderson and Louisville she gathered from personal sources colorful traditions about Audubon and other new material.
Constance Roarke has long been recognized as an authority on the American frontier and American folk-lore. This background and her interest in the natural scene combine to make her portrait of Audubon a rich contribution to American literature.
The book is illustrated with reproductions in full-color of twelve of the elephant folio prints from "Birds of America" and many drawings in black and white, done in the spirit of Audubon's friend Bewick, by James MacDonald.
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