The Natural History of Selborne, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


More than any other writer, Gilbert White (1720-93) has shaped the relationship between man and nature.

A hundred years before Darwin, White realised the crucial role of worms in the formation of soil and understood the significance of territory and song in birds.

His precise, scrupulously honest and unaffectedly witty observations led him to interpret animals' behaviour in a unique manner.

This collection of his letters to the explorer and naturalist Daines Barrington and the eminent zoologist Thomas Pennant - White's intellectual lifelines from his country-village home - are a beautifully written, detailed evocation of the lives of the flora and fauna of eighteenth-century England.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, notes, maps, bibliography
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary essays
  • ISBN: 9780140431124



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A pioneering book by a remarkably modern naturalist writing at the time of the French Revolution, and embodying Enlightenment values although a clergyman. So much of interest here for natural history buffs, including records of birds rare or common today, new discoveries (harvest mouse), temperature records begging to be compared with present-day ones, and even a discussion on leg-length/body-mass allometry (he gets this wrong though). Also some fine vocabulary words: nidification, terebrate, pulveratrice, salutiferous, hibernaculum, Anathoth, and smother-flies.