Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nature Stories

Nature Stories
by Jules Renard
The New York Review of Books, 2010

“You can see one there, lying down, stretched out like a lovely noodle” is Jules Renard's single-sentence portrait of a worm, one of about four dozen sketches included in his classic Nature Stories, newly translated from the French by Douglas Parmée.

An early 20th century novelist and playwright, Renard published the first edition of his Histoires naturelles in 1896. Subsequent editions were illustrated by the likes of Toulouse-Latrec and Pierre Bonnard, whose ink-brush images are included in this English edition.

Consisting of mostly short verse and prose poem celebrations of flora and fauna, the collection also includes a couple longer pieces on hunting and fishing, which are not complimentary. Renard deftly anthropomorphizes the plants and animals around him and clearly empathizes with their existences.

Continued at Review: Nature Stories