Nature writing is nonfiction prose about the natural environment. Nature writing often draws heavily on scientific information and facts about the natural world; at the same time, it is frequently written in the first person and incorporates personal observations of and philosophical reflections upon nature.
In This Incomparable Land: A Book of American Nature Writing, Thomas Jefferson Lyon suggests that nature writing encompasses a spectrum of different types of works, ranging from those that place primary emphasis on natural history facts (such as field guides) to those in which philosophical interpretations predominate. Some of the subcategories he identifies include natural history essays, rambles, essays of solitude or escape, and travel and adventure writing.
Modern nature writing traces its roots to the works of natural history that were popular in the second half of the 18th century and throughout the 19th, including works by Gilbert White, William Bartram, John James Audubon, Charles Darwin, Richard Jefferies, and other explorers, collectors, and naturalists. Henry David Thoreau is often considered the father of modern American nature writing. Other canonical figures in the genre include Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Burroughs, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, M. Krishnan, and Edward Abbey (although he rejected the term for himself).
List of nature writers by country
see separate category Category:Australian nature writers
- Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (1972).
- Philip Henry Gosse, The Canadian Naturalist (1840).
- Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf (1963).
- Grey Owl, Pilgrims of the Wild (1935).
- Catharine Parr Traill, The Backwoods of Canada (1836).
- J. A. Baker, The Peregrine (1967)
- John Clare (1793-1864), natural history prose and poetry
- William Cobbett, Rural Rides (1830)
- Mark Cocker, Crow Country (2007)
- Gaia Dance, EarthBonding - The Matter of the Planet and You (2013) and Eco - Everyone's Common Origin (2013)
- Roger Deakin, Wildwood (2007)
- William Samuel Furneaux, Outdoor World (1893)
- Robert Gibbings, Sweet Thames Run Softly (1940)
- Philip Hoare, Leviathan or, the Whale (2008)
- William Henry Hudson, Afoot in England (1909)
- Margaret Hutchinson, Children as Naturalists (1947)
- Richard Jefferies, After London; Or, Wild England (1885)
- Richard Mabey, Weeds (2010)
- Gavin Maxwell, Ring of Bright Water (1960)
- Oliver Rackham, Woodlands (2007)
- Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789)
- Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter (1928)
- David Abram
- Mary Hunter Austin
- Rick Bass
- Wendell Berry
- Rachel Carson
- Archie Carr
- Jan DeBlieu
- Gretel Ehrlich
- Robert Finch
- Gordon Grice
- Edward Hoagland
- Bernd Heinrich
- Sue Hubbell
- Edmund Jaeger
- Don L. Johnson
- Aldo Leopold
- Barry Lopez
- Peter Matthiessen
- Bill McKibben
- John Muir
- Gary Paul Nabhan
- Richard Nelson
- Sigurd F. Olson
- Donald C. Peattie
- Samuel F. Pickering Jr.
- Richard Proenneke
- Robert Michael Pyle
- David Quammen
- Janisse Ray
- Ernest Thompson Seton, Wild Animals I have Known (1898)
- Gary Snyder
- Rebecca Solnit
- Sandra Steingraber
- John Tallmadge
- Edwin Way Teale
- Walter D. Wetherell, writing as W. D. Wetherell
- Terry Tempest Williams
- E. O. Wilson
- Ann Zwinger
- Outdoor literature
- List of environmental books
- Whole Terrain: Journal of Reflective Environmental Practice
- Lyon, Thomas Jefferson (2001). This Incomparable Land. Milkweed Editions.
- Gosse, Edmund (1903). ""Gilbert White"". English Literature: From Milton to Johnson. London: William Heinemann. pp. 375–378.
- Gosse, Edmund (1906). ""CHARLES DARWIN"". English Literature: From the Age of Johnson to the Age of Tennyson. New York: Macmillan Co. pp. 298–302.
- "Roger Deakin - Obituaries - News". The Independent. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- "West Coast Writers: Interview with Gordon Grice". Westcoastwriters.blogspot.com. 2009-05-26. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- Finch, Robert, and John Elder, eds. The Norton Book of Nature Writing. New York: Norton, 1990; Nature writing: the tradition in English. edited by Robert Finch and John Elder. New York: W.W. Norton, c2002.
- Keith, W. J., The Rural Tradition: William Cobbett, Gilbert White, and Other Non-Fiction Writers of the English Countryside. Hassocks, Sussex: Harvester, 1975. This book has a useful bibliography.
- Lyon, Thomas J., ed. This Incomparable Land: A Book of American Nature Writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
- Lillard, Richard G. (April 1973). "The Nature Book in Action". The English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) 62 (4): 537–48. doi:10.2307/813109. JSTOR 813109.
- Mabey, Richard, The Oxford Book of Nature Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
- Stewart, Frank, A Natural History of Nature Writing. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1994.
- William Bartram's early Southern travels
- Audubon's Birds of America at the U. of Pittsburgh
- Audubon, John James (1843). Birds of America. vol. 6. New York: J. J. Audubon.