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A Review of General Hypotheses about Gilbert White - Based on the Analysis of The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne -

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2022, (87), pp.191-222
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.087.07
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : September 29, 2022
  • Accepted : October 10, 2022
  • Published : November 30, 2022

Park Jeong Hee 1

1대전대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Gilbert White, an Anglican priest (curate) in the rural area of south England, observed the nature of the Selborne region throughout his life, and in 1789 published a book titled The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne. This book has been consistently loved in the United Kingdom and introduced overseas. His work influenced British Romantic literature and is credited with paving the way for the development of ecology. Nevertheless, little is known about White himself, and no clear reason is given as to why his work is so beloved for so long. White is called a parson-naturalist, but this naming can lead to a distorted understanding of him. A similar distorted understanding appears in relation not only to his position as a priest, but also to the circumstances of the times. Recently, the book has been translated for the first time in Korean. By analyzing Gilbert White's The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne in depth, published in 1891 by John Lubbock as one of ‘the 100 best books’, the paper is aimed at suggesting how we should read this book and understand its author today. The suggestions are as follows. White was called a parson-naturalist but he was a scientist who thoroughly and diligently explored the nature and antiquities of the region; a priest who cherished providence and miracles of nature, but was wary of superstitions wrapped in religion; a good-natured neighbor who tried to improve the situation of those in need, and a romantic poet who did not alienate objects he encountered in nature.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.