Wild Africa Three Centuries of Nature Writing from Africa

ISBN-10: 0195073770
ISBN-13: 9780195073775
Edition: 1993
Author(s): John A. Murray
Description: "The Sea at Mombasa is as blue as cornflower," wrote Isak Dinesen, "and, outside the inlet to the harbour, the long breakers of the Indian Ocean draw a thin crooked white line, and give out a low thunder even in the calmest weather." Vast, untamed,  More...
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Copyright Year: 1993
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication Date: 5/13/1993
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 356
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.540

"The Sea at Mombasa is as blue as cornflower," wrote Isak Dinesen, "and, outside the inlet to the harbour, the long breakers of the Indian Ocean draw a thin crooked white line, and give out a low thunder even in the calmest weather." Vast, untamed, mysterious, and profoundly beautiful, Africa has always exerted a powerful sway over its Western admirers. And the dual nature of the Dark Continent reflected in Dinesen's lines--a paradise with a dark, forbidding undercurrent--has for three centuries inspired what John A. Murray now reveals as a unique literary genre. In Wild Africa he combines a diverse sampling from this rich trove of African nature and travel writing with traditional myths and stories in fashioning a book that brings to life the spirit of the African wilderness. In these pages the reader will share the experiences of the most intrepid adventurers as they endure the weather (as hot as 137 Farenheit in the Sahara), the dangerous animals (lions, crocodiles, and cobras), parasites (tapeworms, leeches), and nature's most potent arsenal of biological weaponry (cerebral malaria, sleeping sickness, dengue fever). The writings gathered in this book reflect not only these extremes of the land, but the extremes of human experience as well--or what Joseph Conrad described as the "joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage" that is amplified in the wilds of Africa. Here we follow John Barrow on his 1797 search for the unicorn he believed could be found in South Africa; watch as Dr. David Livingstone is mauled by a lion prior to his discovery of Victoria Falls ("besides crunching the bone into splinters, he left eleven teeth wounds in the upper part of my arm"); and accompany Teddy Roosevelt on a 1909 safari in which 512 animals were killed for the Smithsonian's permanent collection. The personalities we encounter are also unforgettable, from the formidable Scottish explorer Mungo Park, to the famed big-game hunter J.H. Patterson (whose fatal love triangle with Mr. and Mrs. Audley James Blyth was the basis for Hemingway's "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"), to contemporary biologist Delia Owens (who protests the incursion into the Kalihari of would-be uranium miners). Murray seamlessly weaves these disparate voices into a passionate whole, a book which in the end becomes an eloquent plea for the further conservation of Africa's immense yet dwindling natural resources. Above all, it is the beauty of Africa that intrigues us most, the majesty of the Nile, the exotic wildlife of the Serengeti Plain, the gorillas in the mists of Rwanda. Wild Africa is a rare delight.

John Murray is the editor of numerous nature anthologies, such as "Out among the Wolves", "The Great Bear" & "Nature's New Voices". Most recently, he is the author of the acclaimed book "Cinema Southwest". He lives in Denver.

Introductionp. 3
177O-1885: The Age of Explorationp. 25
Finding the Source of the Blue Nilep. 29
The Discovery of the Niger Riverp. 35
The South African Unicornp. 43
The Eland and the Puff Adderp. 49
The Death of Hugh Clappertonp. 55
The First White Man to Report on Timbuctoop. 61
The Cataracts of the Nilep. 65
Encounter with a Lion and Discovery of the Victoria Fallsp. 71
Lost in the Sahara Desertp. 79
The Discovery of Lake Tanganyikap. 85
A Swarm of Beetlesp. 91
A Baby Gorilla Captured Alivep. 95
Hunting Elephantsp. 103
The Upper Nilep. 109
An Encounter with a Slave Caravanp. 113
In the Jaws of Deathp. 119
1886-1956: The Age of Exploitationp. 125
Exploring Mount Kilimanjarop. 129
The Primeval Forestp. 139
Heart of Darknessp. 149
West African Riversp. 155
The Death of the First Man-Eaterp. 163
To Lake Naivashap. 169
Hunting Gorillasp. 175
The Giraffes Go to Hamburgp. 183
Father Elephant (from the Pygmies of Gabon)p. 190
The Origin of the Leopard and Hyena (from the Nandi of East Africa)p. 193
The Story of the Crow Who Married a Woman (from the Masai of East Africa)p. 197
Masai Proverbs (from the Masai of East Africa)p. 201
Masai Riddles (from the Masai of East Africa)p. 205
The Hare and the Elephant (from the Suk of East Africa)p. 209
Man and Turtle (from the Ki-Mbundu of Angola)p. 213
The Origin of Death (from the Zulu of South Africa)p. 217
1957-1992: The Age of Environmentalismp. 221
In the Realm of the Mountain Gorillap. 225
The End of the Pleistocenep. 237
Uraniump. 245
The Leopardp. 251
Sand Riversp. 263
Landscapes Open and Closed, a Journey Through Southern Africap. 275
In the Country of Grassesp. 289
Radiant Darknessp. 297
Further Readingp. 305
Indexp. 315
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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