"Let nature be your teacher": Tegetmeier's distinctive ornithological studies

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ONE OF THE GIVENS OF NATURAL history is that it is the observation of wild nature. However, that way of stating the case establishes a boundary between nature and culture, wild and domestic, whereas humans, as Douglas Sackman observes, have shaped what they call nature “into forms that [are] valuable to themselves or others” (171). This shaping of nature is particularly true of William Bernard Tegetmeier's (1816–1912) lavishly illustrated The Poultry Book (1873). A new edition of a work that had sold for one shilling per part in fifteen monthly parts through 1866 to 1867, it carried thirty chromolithograph color plates and ran to three hundred and ninety-two pages. Texts like The Poultry Book belonged to the wider circulation of ideas between the discourses of art, literature, and science that led eventually both to the protection of birds in the wild (Kean 113–15) and to their increasingly scientific management in agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-605
Number of pages17
JournalVictorian Literature and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2007


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