"Storytelling par excellence."—Adirondack Life
Cited in Adirondack Life as one of the twenty-five most collectible books about the Adirondacks ever to appear, these essays were first published in book form in 1878. Warner’s main theme is the small, often-ludicrous figure that the human being cuts in the wilderness. His urbane satire takes the starch out of “the tin-can and paper collar tourists” who were beginning to flock to the Adirondacks.
Warner also appeals to the sensibilities of his readers, then and now, as in the piece on “A-Hunting of the Deer,” which is written from the deer’s point of view. And in dead pan worthy of his friend and neighbor Mark Twain, he frequently pulls the reader’s leg, as in his description of a hastily built woods “shanty”: “It needs but a few of these skins to cover the roof, and they make a perfectly watertight roof, except when it rains.”
Warner’s love of nature, combined with his humor and social satire, makes In the Wilderness as good a read now as it was more than a century ago.
Charles Dudley Warner was born in Massachusetts, moved to Cazenovia, New York, at the age of twelve, and graduated from Hamilton College in 1851. He coauthored The Gilded Age in 1873 with Mark Twain; he was also the author of other well-received essay volumes, including My Summer in a Garden, Backlog Studies, and Saunterings. In the Wilderness was originally serialized in the Atlantic Monthly.
Alice Wolf Gilborn, former Editor of Publications at the Adirondack Museum, is founding editor of the Adirondack literary magazine Blueline. Her collection Out of the Blue: Blueline Essays, 1979–1989, appeared in 2013.
5.5 x 8, 158 pages