“In the fish world many things are told by sound waves": First Edition of Under the Sea-Wind; Inscribed by Rachel Carson
Under the Sea-Wind.
Carson, Rachel L.$4,800.00
Item Number: 97218
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1941.
First edition of Carson’s first book and her personal favorite. Octavo, original cloth, illustrated. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For Captain H.W. Goodall- a naturalist and book lover Rachel L. Carson April 9, 1948.” Near fine in the rare original dust jacket with some rubbing and wear. Illustrated by Howard Frech. Rare and desirable signed and inscribed.
Under the Sea Wind describes the behaviour of fish and seabirds accurately, but in story form, often using the scientific names of species as character names. Carson's stated goal in doing so was "to make the sea and its life as vivid a reality for those who may read the book as it has become for me during the past decade." The first of her characters is introduced this way: With the dusk a strange bird came to the island from its nesting grounds on the outer banks. Its wings were pure black, and from tip to tip their spread was more than the length of a man's arm. It flew steadily and without haste across the sound, its progress as measured and as meaningful as that of the shadows which little by little were dulling the bright water path. The bird was called Rynchops, the black skimmer. The middle section of the book follows the life-story of Scomber, the mackerel, while the last part describes pond creatures such as eels and ducks. A glossary at the end of the book provides additional detail. Today It is recognized today as one of the "definitive works of American nature writing" (Bryson, 242).