I’ve decided that on Mondays I’m going to revisit the books I read for a course in college called Advanced Reading Survey, taught by the eminent scholar and lovable professor, Dr. Huff. I’m not going to re-read all the books and poems I read for that course, probably more than fifty, but I am going to post to Semicolon the entries in the reading journal that I was required to keep for that class because I think that my entries on these works of literature may be of interest to readers here and because I’m afraid that the thirty year old spiral notebook in which I wrote these entries may fall apart ere long. I may offer my more mature perspective on the books, too, if I remember enough about them to do so.
William Henry Hudson was born to American parents who emigrated to Argentina and spent most of his adult life in England. He was an ornithologist who published studies of Argentine and British birds. His fiction and nonfiction books are greatly concerned with nature and the beauty of the natural world. Appropriately, a bird sanctuary is established in Hyde Park in London as a memorial to Mr. Hudson.
Abel: a young Venezuelan man.
Rima: a bird-girl, survivor of a lost race.
Nuflo: the old man with whom Rima lives.
Runi: an Indian chief.
A young man meets a mysterious and beautiful bird-girl in the depths of the Venezuelan jungle. The two fall in love, but the perfect love between them is spoiled by the appearance of both primitive envy and the encroachment of civilization.
“Caring not in that solitude to disguise my feelings from myself, and from the wide heaven that looked down and saw me—for this is the sweetest thing that solitude has for us, that we are free in it, and no convention holds us—I dropped on my knees and kissed the stony ground, than casting up my eyes, thanked the Author of my being for the gift of that wild forest, those green mansions where I found so great a happiness.”
“It was as if Nature herself, in supreme anguish and abandonment, had cast herself prone on the earth, and her great heart had throbbed audibly, shaking the world with its beats.”
â€œOur souls were near together, like two raindrops side by side, drawing irresistibly nearer, ever nearer; for now they had touched and were not two, but one inseparable drop, crystallised beyond change, not to be disintegrated by time, nor shattered by deathâ€™s blow, nor resolved by any alchemy.â€
I’ve written about this book before in a post entitled Under the Radar: An Adult Fiction Trio.