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Gilbert White's 'Natural History of Selborne'
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Gilbert White's 'Natural History of Selborne'

Author : Gilbert White
Narrator : James Taylor
Publisher : Audio Books Ltd
Length : 10 hours 45 minutes
Categories : Biographical
Pre 1900
Knowledge & Learning
Our Price : $31.49
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The language of birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical: little is said, but much is meant and understood..

Gilbert White, Letter XLIII to Daines Barrington, 9 September 1778

'The Natural History of Selborne' has become part of that curious concoction of ideas and artefacts, which are seen as somehow defining 'the English way of life.'

First appearing in 1788, 'Selborne' is the fourth most frequently published book in the English language, behind The Bible, the Oxford English Dictionary and the works of William Shakespeare.

When English settlers emigrated to the colonies in the last century, 'Selborne' was packed alongside the family bibles and sprigs of heather. Coleridge jotted notes in the margin of his copy and thought it 'a sweet and delightful book'. Darwin praised it as one of the chief reasons for his interest in biology.

(Extracts reproduced by the kind permission of Richard Mabey from his award winning biography of Gilbert White in 1986.)

Gilbert White was a pioneering naturalist and ornithologist. White was born at Selborne Hampshire, England on July 18, 1720. His house in Selborne, The Wakes, now contains the Gilbert White Museum, as well as the Oates Memorial Museum, commemorating Frank and Lawrence Oates.

For the very first time, 'The Natural History of Selborne' is now available as an unabridged audio book, and has a duration of almost 11 hours of magical listening. A pdf file comprising the full listing of each letter included in this audio title is available with this download.

The narrator, James Taylor, has more than 40 years experience as a professional actor. His diversity ranges from Theatre in London’s West End, numerous television appearances and the voice of Rune Haako in Star Wars (The Phantom Menace). Even so, James regards ‘Selborne’ as one of his most rewarding challenges. He insisted on studying Richard Mabey's biography of Gilbert White before producing a truly compelling performance.

With the kind assistance of Julian Reynolds, Head of Biology, Trinity College, Dublin, this recording also includes Latin translations of everything noted by White in his incredible and meticulous observations.

'Selborne' is a unique listening experience. 200 years after it was first published it still reveals "The secret parish in all of us."

N.B While working closely with Julian Reynolds, Head of Biology at Trinity College, Dublin, we were as meticulous in our Latin translations as it is ever possible to be with such a flexible language. This, coupled with the fact that White wrote the book more than 200 years ago will lead to some inconsistencies. For example, Julian was adamant that the modern day pronunciation of “Hirundines” is a change that has taken place over two centuries and, in his wisdom (who am I to argue?) opted for the pronunciation that appears throughout the reading. Enjoy! John Mayfield Producer of ‘The Natural History of Selborne.’

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