The Great Chain of Life
Publication Year: 2009
Whether anticipating the arguments of biologists who now ascribe high levels of cognition to the so-called lower animals, recognizing the importance of nature for a well-lived life, or seeing nature as an elaborately interconnected, interdependent network, Krutch’s seminal work contains lessons just as resonant today as they were when the book was first written.
Lavishly illustrated with thirteen beautiful woodcuts by Paul Landacre, an all-but-lost yet important Los Angeles artist whom Rockwell Kent called “the best American wood engraver working,” The Great Chain of Life will be cherished by new generations of readers.
Published by: University of Iowa Press
WHENEVER men stop doing things long enough to think about them, they always ask themselves the question: "What am I?" And since that is the hardest of all questions to answer they usually settle for what looks easier - "If I...
1. Basic Forms of Life
EVERY SCHOOLBOY knows - or at least has been told - that our ignorant ancestors believed in "spontaneous generation." They assumed of course that all the nobler animals, including man, had to have a mother and, usually, a father as well...
2. Machinery for Evolution
ON THE SECOND of January 1700 Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, draper of Delft and self-taught Columbus of the littlest world, was writing to the Royal Society of London one of the many letters in which he described his voyages of discovery within a drop of water. To William Dampier and other such rovers he left the...
3. The Animal's First Need
IS A VOLVOX any less remarkable than a bird, or a bird any less remarkable than a man? Of course it is - in a sense. But miracles cannot be compared. One is quite as incomprehensible as the other and if man did not exist a Volvox or a robin would be as difficult to "explain" as man himself...
MOST PEOPLE are more interested in young animals than in grownups, and at any zoo the mother with her baby attracts the largest crowd. Parental concern is a touch of nature which even those usually indifferent to their fellow creatures...
5. The Need for Continuity
AT THE BEGINNING of the fifth chapter of Alice in Wonderland Alice has an important conversation with a caterpillar. Thinking of her own recent experiences, she complains that it is very confusing to change size and shape. The Caterpillar - brusque as all Wonderland creatures are - replies: "It...
6. The Barbarian Mammal
THE ANT practices his incredible agriculture almost at my doorstep. The caterpillar will be born again on my study table if I put him there. Yet both of them live in a universe so remote from mine that they are not aware of even physical propinquity and they go about their business as though...
7. The Meaning of Awareness
FOR NINE LONG YEARS a large salamander lived her sluggish life in a damp terrarium on my window sill. Before I assumed responsibility for her health and welfare she had lived through a different life - not as different as the life of a butterfly is from that of a caterpillar, but different...
8. Undeveloped Potentialities
"THERE ARE many arguments, none of them very good, for having a snake in the house." So Mr. Will Cuppy once wrote, though he was gracious (or is it cynical?) enough to add: "Considering what some do pet, I don't see why they should...
9. Reverence for Life
IT WOULD NOT BE quite true to say that "some of my best friends are hunters." Nevertheless, I do number among my respected acquaintances some who not only kill for the sake of killing but count it among their keenest pleasures....
ON THE SPRING MORNING when I began writing this book I might have picked the illustrations for most of my themes within two hundred yards of my window. Just about that far away several colonies of ants were practicing their incredible...
11. How Right Was Darwin?
TO THE BANAL REMARK that "Life is strange" a wit once replied with the impudent query, "By comparison with what?" Nothing remains to be said if the orIginal remark was intended as a comment on some happy accident or unhappy contretemps of daily life. But if one is thinking instead...
THE FffiST SENTENCES of this book were written nearly two years ago. Outside my window on that spring morning, as on this, a bird sang. Outside a million windows, a million birds had sung as morning swept around the globe. Few men and few women were so glad that a new day had...
Page Count: 245
Publication Year: 2009
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