The Goshawk

By T. H. White; Marie Winn (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590172490, 215pp.)

Publication Date: October 2, 2007

List Price: $16.95*
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Description

The predecessor to Helen Macdonald's "H is for Hawk," T. H. White's nature writing classic, "The Goshawk," asks the age-old question: what is it that binds human beings to other animals? White, the author of The Once and Future King and Mistress Masham's Repose, was a young writer who found himself rifling through old handbooks of falconry. A particular sentence--"the bird reverted to a feral state"--seized his imagination, and, White later wrote, "A longing came to my mind that I should be able to do this myself. The word 'feral' has a kind of magical potency which allied itself to two other words, 'ferocious' and 'free.'" Immediately, White wrote to Germany to acquire a young goshawk. Gos, as White named the bird, was ferocious and Gos was free, and White had no idea how to break him in beyond the ancient (and, though he did not know it, long superseded) practice of depriving him of sleep, which meant that he, White, also went without rest. Slowly man and bird entered a state of delirium and intoxication, of attraction and repulsion that looks very much like love.

White kept a daybook describing his volatile relationship with Gos--at once a tale of obsession, a comedy of errors, and a hymn to the hawk. It was this that became "The Goshawk," one of modern literature's most memorable and surprising encounters with the wilderness--as it exists both within us and without.




About the Author
T. H. White (1906 1964) is the author of the classic Arthurian fantasy "The Once and Future King", among other works. He was born in Mumbai, India, to English parents and educated at Queen s College, Cambridge. His writings have had a strong influence on both J. K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman.

Marie Winn has written thirteen books, among them "Children Without Childhood," "Unplugging the Plug-In Drug," and "Red-Tails in Love." She currently writes a column about nature for the "Wall Street Journal." She has two grown children and four grandchildren who are growing up without television.
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