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Spare the Birds!George Bird Grinnell and the First Audubon Society$
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Carolyn Merchant

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215458

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215458.001.0001

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The Character of John James Audubon

The Character of John James Audubon

From The Audubon Magazine 1, nos. 9–10 (Oct.–Nov. 1887)

(p.93) Chapter Five The Character of John James Audubon
Spare the Birds!

George Bird Grinnell

Yale University Press

This chapter captures Grinnell's assessment of Audubon's character and pays tribute to Lucy in issues 9–10 (October–November 1887) of The Audubon Magazine. It puts together a picture of Audubon through the remarks of other writers of the period, as well as through Audubon's portrayals of his own self. In doing so, the chapter reveals both his strengths and his shortcomings, pointing out that “Audubon's was no well-rounded, complete character.” Yet at the same time “Audubon at this time had placed no higher, no more practical object in life before him than self-indulgence...but, on the other hand, his vanity was simply a craving for distinction.” The second part of the chapter deals largely with Audubon's character as seen through his relationship with his wife: though loving and generous, Audubon was wanting in the capacity for self-sacrifice, and generous without any controlling sense of duty.

Keywords:   John James Audubon, writers, Lucy Audubon, The Audubon Magazine, George Bird Grinnell

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