The University of Wisconsin Press


Field Notes
Richard Quinney

“Standing on the bare ground—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Taking his cue from Emerson and the eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White, Richard Quinney examines the beauty of the world and ponders our place in it in Field Notes. As much as we might look to the heavens, this earth is the only world in which we move and have our being, where we may see into the nature of all things.

For many naturalists, writers, and poets, the boundaries between the animate and inanimate, the living and the dead, are ambiguous and arbitrary. In the moments when we grasp the essence and wonder of nature, we know that all things are in its domain, that we too are nature. Yet nature is not necessarily benevolent to our human interests. We are subject to the same forces that work in all of nature. Nature is the source of life as well as its destruction as new life is being created. With pen and camera in hand, between town and country, notes are made and a life is lived. One world at a time, here on earth.

Richard Quinney is the author of several books that combine photography with autobiographical writing, most recently Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing, Of Time and Place, Tales from the Middle Border, and Things Once Seen. After earning his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, he taught in several universities on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Recently he founded the independent press Borderland Books in Madison. The family farm he writes about is a dairy farm of four generations in Walworth County in southern Wisconsin. It is being preserved and managed according to the practices of sustainable agriculture and is the site of several research and demonstration projects.

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Cover of book has red square with white writing, and a black and white image of trees in the background.

September 2008
128 pp.   6 1/2 x 9
6 b/w photographs

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Cloth $28.00 t
ISBN 978-0-9768781-6-2
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Updated June 4, 2013

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