The Tree

The Tree

by John Fowles

Paperback

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Overview

“For years I have carried this book...with me on travels to reread, ponder, envy. In prose of classic gravity, precision, and delicacy, Fowles addresses matters of final importance.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

 

The Tree is the fullest and finest exploration I’ve ever read of how the useless delights to be discovered in nature can ripen into the practice of art.”

—Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift

 

 “The most original argument for wilderness preservation I have encountered.”
Washington Post

 

Finally back in print, here is the 30th anniversary edition of The Tree—the renowned English novelist John Fowles’s (The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman) moving meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity. An inspiring modern ecological classic, The Tree is both a powerful argument against taming the wild and a major author’s  inspiring and beautifully written defense of “the joys of getting lost,” and of spontaneity in life and art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061997778
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Pages: 91
Sales rank: 185,462
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, England, and won international recognition with his first novel, The Collector, in 1963. His many other bestselling novels include The Magus (1966), Daniel Martin (1977), and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), which was turned into an acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. John Fowles died in 2005.

What People are Saying About This

Lydia Millet

“Please read this book. It says the most important thing, and with a lovely succinctness. Step off the narrow path, so cleverly engineered for you, into the deep cathedral of the woods-where there are no engineers and the true self abides.”

Lewis Hyde

“THE TREE is the fullest and finest exploration I’ve ever read of how the useless delights to be discovered in nature can ripen into the practice of art.”

Brad Kessler

“THE TREE defies easy definition and even genre. Whatever else it happens to be-memoir, philosophy, natural history-the book is a kind of forest, and Fowles a masterful field guide. He shows us the hidden place where the woods and literature converge.”

Customer Reviews

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The Tree 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
SAHARATEA More than 1 year ago
This is the 30th anniversary edition of John Fowles legendary essay about trees. Or rather, what trees mean in a greater sense than just the biological. At first, I expected this to be similar to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring-both were written decades ago. However, this slim text is more of a set of questions rather than answers. In fact, despite the title, it could be said that trees are just the smallest portion of his purpose. "Do we feel that unless we create evidence-photographs, journal entries, picked and pressed flowers, tape recordings, pocketed stones-we haven't actually been intimate with nature?" Fowles was known for writing The French Lieutenant's Woman as well as other fiction titles. Here, in this book, he discusses via anecdotes the relationship between humans and nature, and the juxtaposition between nature on its own and our experience of nature. First, the introduction by Barry Lopez comfortably sets the scene, and hints that this is no simple environmental manifesto. And never does Fowles lecture about how people should view nature; rather, he talks about what nature may or may not mean in a larger sense. For example, he talks about his childhood home where his father cultivated small garden and fruit trees. Nothing was out of place, and while it was in the city, his father managed to tame anything unruly from the garden. Clearly it was his goal to conquer the plot of land. He was the victor over it. Yet his son, Fowles, purchases property that is larger, but by no means tame. Fowles neither cultivates or cuts back, he sees no point in amending the soil, pruning the trees, and to the horror of his father, the parcel of land is wild. Is it a moral battle over who conquers the natural world? Is it nature if you've directed its every movement? Fowles doesn't presume to answer, he just asks. In a further irony, which tells a great deal about his father, Fowles recalls how his father could walk for miles in the city, yet would only hike a few hundred meters in the countryside. The untame pastoral scene frightened him or inhibited him, likely because of its chaos. Thus, Fowles discusses chaos in nature, and how the most lovely of scenes is never the most natural. He also makes a valid point that our modern society, with three decades of hindsight added since this was written, has used film and photography to 'show' nature, making the interaction with it less urgent. How often do people seek it out? Is putting a pot of daisies on the patio nature or decor? Do we travel to faraway places to imbibe unique cocktails or are we willing to hike in a forest for no other purpose than to look? Again, he gives no condescending or judgmental answer, he just asks thought provoking questions. Since the last few years have produced epic and beautiful DVD collections for large screen televisions, like Planet Earth, does nature seem to be something we order up on the Netflix queue or purchase at Costco? It should be noted that this is not a nature 'journal', nor a guide to trees. There are no photos or etchings to illustrate it, and that's appropriate in that Fowles doesn't feel a photograph can replicate nature satisfactorily. I enjoyed this very much, and wish that Fowles would have spent a bit more time discussing his own experiences, as well as suggested ideas for conservation and preservation.
BlackSheepDances on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the 30th anniversary edition of John Fowles legendary essay about trees. Or rather, what trees mean in a greater sense than just the biological. At first, I expected this to be similar to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring-both were written decades ago. However, this slim text is more of a set of questions rather than answers. In fact, despite the title, it could be said that trees are just the smallest portion of his purpose."Do we feel that unless we create evidence-photographs, journal entries, picked and pressed flowers, tape recordings, pocketed stones-we haven't actually been intimate with nature?"Fowles was known for writing The French Lieutenant's Woman as well as other fiction titles. Here, in this book, he discusses via anecdotes the relationship between humans and nature, and the juxtaposition between nature on its own and our experience of nature. First, the introduction by Barry Lopez comfortably sets the scene, and hints that this is no simple environmental manifesto. And never does Fowles lecture about how people should view nature; rather, he talks about what nature may or may not mean in a larger sense.For example, he talks about his childhood home where his father cultivated small garden and fruit trees. Nothing was out of place, and while it was in the city, his father managed to tame anything unruly from the garden. Clearly it was his goal to conquer the plot of land. He was the victor over it. Yet his son, Fowles, purchases property that is larger, but by no means tame. Fowles neither cultivates or cuts back, he sees no point in amending the soil, pruning the trees, and to the horror of his father, the parcel of land is wild. Is it a moral battle over who conquers the natural world? Is it nature if you've directed its every movement? Fowles doesn't presume to answer, he just asks.In a further irony, which tells a great deal about his father, Fowles recalls how his father could walk for miles in the city, yet would only hike a few hundred meters in the countryside. The untame pastoral scene frightened him or inhibited him, likely because of its chaos. Thus, Fowles discusses chaos in nature, and how the most lovely of scenes is never the most natural. He also makes a valid point that our modern society, with three decades of hindsight added since this was written, has used film and photography to 'show' nature, making the interaction with it less urgent. How often do people seek it out? Is putting a pot of daisies on the patio nature or decor? Do we travel to faraway places to imbibe unique cocktails or are we willing to hike in a forest for no other purpose than to look? Again, he gives no condescending or judgmental answer, he just asks thought provoking questions. Since the last few years have produced epic and beautiful DVD collections for large screen televisions, like Planet Earth, does nature seem to be something we order up on the Netflix queue or purchase at Costco? It should be noted that this is not a nature 'journal', nor a guide to trees. There are no photos or etchings to illustrate it, and that's appropriate in that Fowles doesn't feel a photograph can replicate nature satisfactorily. I enjoyed this very much, and wish that Fowles would have spent a bit more time discussing his own experiences, as well as suggested ideas for conservation and preservation.
sarah-e on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Tree defies summary. My attempts to pull out a meaninful passage would eventually result in transcription of the entire work. I did not expect that one of the slimmest books on my shelf would be so enlightening, or so dense. I will keep this book forever, and read it again and again. There is so much I missed, and much more that I can learn from it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry typo. They gave my 20 lives and i have 18 remaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The pale gray she-cat padded to the med den. She tasted the air. She could smell the scent of herbs hanging in the den.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Raises her nose.* Oh... *She bounds to the med cat den.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slowly pads in. "Hey, guys! I'm Midnightfur!" Smiles brightly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Licks her kits lovingly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inactive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Growled, smelling blood and life...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Currentflow watched the camp from high in the trees. <p> Highpoint watched Currentflow. "Be careful!" He meowed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously? Change your name. Don't be stupid. My kit already has that name.) She curled up beside Bravekit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG my 'rents have been such turds!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss ur hand three times post this at three different books and look under ur pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They sit.