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Synopsis: From the Journal of Rural Art, Vol. 5, 1850:
We welcome Miss Cooper's Rural Hours, therefore, as we would welcome a clear spring of sweet water, gushing out of a cool mossy bank, after a dusty day's travel. What deep and pure draughts of simple rustic enjoyments one drinks from its pages. What a healthy spirit, like a soft but fresh breeze, breathes through its characters. What a feeling of serenity and peace of mind, like the calm of an October day, pervades it. Here is the exact counterpoise which so many of our young people need for their overexerted imaginations. Here is a natural spring of sweet water, which, if they will only live in the country and drink daily, is sure to react upon their jaded spirits—jaded with the one-sided culture of society or society novels.
"What," exclaims some of our readers, "do you find all this in a book that is only a diary of ordinary country life? A book that gives an account of a walk in the woods, of maple trees, squirrels, crickets and swallows? A book without a story—which begins with a snowstorm, and ends with a sunset?"
Yes, you are quite right. There is no story, but the story of the earth—the oldest of all story books—and no incidents but the incidents of nature—God's incidents. But do you think such incidents too trifling and commonplace for your attention? Do you think it pleasant or wise to live three score years in a world so full of curious and wonderful facts, that great and learned men have spent ages in diving but a little way into them, and never recognise their existence? Is it of no consequence that you do not know, even by name, the trees and flowers, the birds and animated nature, the rocks and stones under your feet?
Ah! believe us, there is a great heart in the bosom of nature, which you may hear beat if you will only confidingly and trustingly woo her daily in her secret haunts. Yes, you may fall in love with nature; and it is a passion that grows — not weakens — by enjoyment; a feeling that calms — not excites — the soul; a sentiment that always ennobles, and never degrades the heart.
We welcome Miss Cooper's volume, also, because it proves to us that time and culture will develop in our fair countrywomen that fondness for nature, and that nice observation of it, which are among the rarest and best traits of national character; traits, we may add, which one only sees in the Anglo-Saxon and northern nations.
Review: In Rural Hours, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894), daughter of the famed novelist James Fenimore Cooper, records a year in the life of the fields and woods surrounding her home in Cooperstown, New York. She writes with a keen eye for detail, noting, for example, the disappearance of local species as their habitat is given over to farmland ("all kinds of black-birds are rare here; they are said to have been very numerous indeed at the settlement of the country, but have very much diminished in numbers of late years"), and keeping track of changes in the weather, fluctuations in animal populations, and like matters. Rural Hours is considered to be the first extended piece of nature writing by an American woman, and as such it should be of interest to a wide range of readers, from naturalists to students of regional literature and women's history. --Gregory McNamee
Title: Rural Hours
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2013
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 266 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.60 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1490544771