This collection examines the many ways in which the natural world has been shaped,
repurposed, and represented by artists and writers. These items highlight, in various
ways, nature's dynamic role in the process and production of creative works. By
necessity, the collection covers a wide range of materials, including a medieval Book of
Hours, an eighteenth-century treatise on natural history in literature, illuminated
works of Romantic and Gothic poetry, a book of ecological poetry by Erasmus Darwin,
drafts of D. H. Lawrence's nature poetry, and manuscripts from T. H. White, Julia
Alvarez, and other contemporary authors.
Book of Hours, use of Rome. By Catholic Church. French. 15th Century.
2 Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection
Medieval devotional text decorated with thirteen full-page miniatures, one half-page
miniature, and 144 bas de page vignettes, the majority depicting animals. Original
text, with illustrations added in the nineteenth century.
An essay on the application of natural history to poetry. By John Aikin.
This eighteenth century treatise by John Aikin seems to anticipate the Romantics'
interest in nature as a poetic subject. Aikin suggests that the poet should employ
the observational techniques of natural science: "As the artist who has not studied
the body with anatomical precision, and examined the proportions of every limb, both
with respect to its own several parts, and the whole system, cannot produce a just
and harmonious representation of the human frame; so the descriptive poet, who does
not habituate himself to view the several objects of nature minutely, and in
comparison with each other, must ever fail in giving his pictures the congruity and
animation of real life" (11).
The botanic garden; a poem, in two parts. By Erasmus Darwin. 1791.
QK 81 D229b 1791
This work by Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, demonstrates a
fascinating blend of popular science and poetic invention. Responding to the rising
popularity of amateur botany prompted by the translation of Carl Linnaeus' works,
Darwin's text blurs the line between art and science, with lengthy footnotes
accompanying anthropomorphized descriptions of plant reproduction.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The sensitive plant and other poems, illuminated
calligraphic manuscript copy by Alberto Sangorski. Undated.
1.6 Percy Bysshe Shelley Collection
This illuminated copy of Percy Shelley's long poem "The sensitive plant" by book
artist Alberto Sangorski (ca early twentieth century) offers two simultaneous lenses
on the depiction of nature, in both Shelley's extended gardening metaphor and the
natural motifs present in Sangorski's elaborate illustrations.
Designs for the pavilion at Brighton : Humbly inscribed to His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales. By H. Repton, Esq. with the assistance of his sons,
John Adey Repton ... and G.S. Repton, architects. 1808.
NA 8450 R468 1808 WAU
Illustrated design book produced by renowned British landscape architect Humphry
Repton, with articulated pages to show "before" and "after" images of carefully
produced garden vistas. Repton, the de facto successor to famed landscape gardener
Capability Brown, excelled in creating "natural" vistas even on previously occupied
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; a prose translation. Golden Cockerel Press
PR 2065 G3 1952
This richly illustrated limited edition of the Pearl Poet's famous 14th-century
alliterative poem features six color engravings by British illustrator Dorothea
Braby. The engravings highlight the poem's symbolic depiction of the conflict
between nature--represented by the Green Knight--and the Christian civilization of
King Arthur's court.
Circus Collection. Series I. American Circuses; Performers; Animal acts
5 Performing Arts Circus Collection
The Performing Arts Circus Collection contains newspaper clippings, photographs,
posters, programs, and musical scores related to individual circuses, acts, and
performers dating from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The
materials in this particular box cover a range of animal acts, which were often
billed as major attractions.
Grahame, Alastair and Grahame, Kenneth. The Merry Thought. 1908.
2.1-6 Kenneth Grahame Collection. See card catalog.
This whimsical home-made literary journal was produced and edited by Alastair
Grahame, the eight-year-old son of famed Wind In the Willows author Kenneth
Grahame, with the guidance of his governess Naomi Stott. Alastair solicited
contributions from his father, Stott, and neighborhood friends, and contributed
several stories and poems himself. The journal features appearances from several
Wind in the Willows characters. Of particular interest is Alastair's poem
"Suffragette Ode," accompanied with a poem by his father about a cat advocating for
Cummings, E. E. Landscape Painting [New Hampshire Farm].
E. E. Cummings Art Collection
This lush watercolor painting, part of American poet E. E. Cummings' art collection,
depicts a scene of clouds, distant hills and wildflowers, strikingly presented in
red and orange hues. As with many other writers whose art collections are housed at
the Ransom Center--including D. H. Lawrence and Evelyn Waugh--Cummings' visual
artworks often reflect aspects of his literary style. In this case, the painting's
landscape seems charged with the poet's trademark exuberance.
Lawrence, D. H. Manuscript draft for Birds, Beasts and Flowers.
2.2 D. H. Lawrence Collection
D. H. Lawrence's first collection of poems, published in 1923, reflects on the
natural world through the extreme "otherness" of animal and vegetable perspectives.
Lawrence's characteristically evocative poems are given titles based on their
subjects, which include pomegranates, snakes, almond trees and mosquitoes, to name a
White, T. H. Journals: 1939-1941; handwritten manuscript with photographs,
watercolors, letters, feathers, and other items pasted in, 395 pages.
27.1 T. H. (Terence Hanbury) White Collection
This extensive journal documents British author T. H. White's longstanding interest
in falconry, hunting, natural history, and animal behavior. Pasted into its pages
are a number of photographs, feathers, a claw from a grouse killed by one of White's
hawks, and a lock of hair from White's beloved Irish setter, Brownie, inscribed with
the date of her death. Many of these animals feature as characters in White's
popular Arthurian sequence, The Once and Future King (1958).
Peter Matthiessen. Correspondence for The Snow Leopard (1978).
49.8 Peter Matthiessen Papers 1958-1995
This series of correspondence with prolific nature writer and novelist Peter
Matthiessen relates to his expedition in search of the rare and endangered Himalayan
snow leopard in the mountains of Nepal with biologist George Schaller. The series
includes letters from Schaller offering advice for preventing altitude sickness and
negotiating with Nepalese and Chinese authorities, Matthiessen's Himalayan entry
permit, Schaller's notes on local fauna, and letters from Matthiessen's young son.
The Matthiessen Papers also include extensive drafts for his bestselling The Snow
Leopard and many of his novels, which often deal with ecological themes and
Smith, Thomas G. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) (Teeny-Weenies; Grounded)
Production boards, 1987.
10.6-11.2 Thomas Smith Papers
The papers of visual effects producer Thomas Smith include storyboards and special
effects designs for several well-known films of the 1980s and 1990s. Smith oversaw
visual effects for George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, working on such films
as Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. (1982), Star Trek: The
Search for Spock (1983), and Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi
(1983). In 1986, Smith began working for Disney, where he was involved with the film
featured here, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. These production boards were
integral in creating the film's striking visual effects, which depict a group of
suburban children accidentally shrunk by their eccentric father's invention as they
encounter a fascinating, and alarming, wilderness in their own backyard.
Alvarez, Julia. The Nature Conservancy: Invitation to contribute, correspondence
and related materials. 1996.
144.6 Julia Alvarez Papers
Alvarez, Julia. "Victor" in Off the beaten path: stories of place, edited
by Joseph Barbato and Lisa Weinerman Horak of the Nature Conservancy. 1998.
648 N32 O39 1998
This pair of items includes correspondence and research materials related to a short
story written by Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez for an anthology
benefitting the Nature Conservancy, and Alvarez's own annotated copy of this
anthology. Alvarez, who was devoted to promoting environmental conservation and
sustainability, also gave a keynote address at a Nature Conservancy event describing
what she had learned through her and her husband Bill Eichner's efforts to maintain
a sustainable coffee farm and literacy center in the Dominican Republic.