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Fabre, Poet of Science   By: (1862-)

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This etext was produced by Sue Asscher

FABRE, POET OF SCIENCE

by DR. G. V. LEGROS.

"De fimo ad excelsa." J. H. Fabre.

WITH A PREFACE BY JEAN HENRI FABRE.

TRANSLATED BY BERNARD MIALL.

PREFACE.

The good friend who has so successfully terminated the task which he felt a vocation to undertake thought it would be of advantage to complete it by presenting to the reader a picture both of my life as a whole and of the work which it has been given me to accomplish.

The better to accomplish his undertaking, he abstracted from my correspondence, as well as from the long conversations which we have so often enjoyed together, a great number of those memories of varying importance which serve as landmarks in life; above all in a life like mine, not exempt from many cares, yet not very fruitful in incidents or great vicissitudes, since it has been passed very largely, in especial during the last thirty years, in the most absolute retirement and the completest silence.

Moreover, it was not unimportant to warn the public against the errors, exaggerations, and legends which have collected about my person, and thus to set all things in their true light.

In undertaking this task my devoted disciple has to some extent been able to replace those "Memoirs" which he suggested that I should write, and which only my bad health has prevented me from undertaking; for I feel that henceforth I am done with wide horizons and "far reaching thoughts."

And yet on reading now the old letters which he has exhumed from a mass of old yellow papers, and which he has presented and co ordinated with so pious a care, it seems to me that in the depths of my being I can still feel rising in me all the fever of my early years, all the enthusiasm of long ago, and that I should still be no less ardent a worker were not the weakness of my eyes and the failure of my strength to day an insurmountable obstacle.

Thoroughly grasping the fact that one cannot write a biography without entering into the sphere of those ideas which alone make a life interesting, he has revived around me that world which I have so long contemplated, and summarized in a striking epitome, and as a strict interpreter, my methods (which are, as will be seen, within the reach of all), my ideas, and the whole body of my works and discoveries; and despite the obvious difficulty which such an attempt would appear to present, he has succeeded most wonderfully in achieving the most lucid, complete, and vital exposition of these matters that I could possibly have wished.

Jean Henri Fabre.

Sérignan, Vaucluse, November 12, 1911.

CONTENTS.

PREFACE.

INTRODUCTION.

CHAPTER 1. THE INTUITION OF NATURE.

CHAPTER 2. THE PRIMARY TEACHER.

CHAPTER 3. CORSICA.

CHAPTER 4. AT AVIGNON.

CHAPTER 5. A GREAT TEACHER.

CHAPTER 6. THE HERMITAGE.

CHAPTER 7. THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE.

CHAPTER 8. THE MIRACLE OF INSTINCT.

CHAPTER 9. EVOLUTION OR "TRANSFORMISM."

CHAPTER 10. THE ANIMAL MIND.

CHAPTER 11. HARMONIES AND DISCORDS.

CHAPTER 12. THE TRANSLATION OF NATURE.

CHAPTER 13. THE EPIC OF ANIMAL LIFE.

CHAPTER 14. PARALLEL LIVES.

CHAPTER 15. THE EVENINGS AT SÉRIGNAN.

CHAPTER 16. TWILIGHT.

NOTES.

INDEX.

INTRODUCTION.

Here I offer to the public the life of Jean Henri Fabre; at once an admiring commentary upon his work and an act of pious homage, such as ought to be offered, while he lives, to the great naturalist who is even to day so little known.

Hitherto it was not easy to speak of Henri Fabre with exactitude. An enemy to all advertisement, he has so discreetly held himself withdrawn that one might almost say that he has encouraged, by his silence, many doubtful or unfounded rumours, which in course of time would become even more incorrect.

For example, although quite recently his material situation was presented in the gloomiest of lights, while it had really for some time ceased to be precarious, it is none the less true that during his whole life he has had to labour prodigiously in order to earn a little money to feed and rear his family, to the great detriment of his scientific inquiries; and we cannot but regret that he was not freed from all material cares at least twenty years earlier than was the case... Continue reading book >>




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