The Desert, Further Studies in Natural Appearances


Read by Sue Anderson

(4 stars; 6 reviews)

The Desert by John Charles Van Dyke, published in 1901, is a lush, poetic description of the natural beauty of the American Southwest. "What land can equal the desert with its wide plains, its grim mountains, and its expanding canopy of sky!" Van Dyke, a cultivated art historian, saw "sublimity" in the desert's "lonely desolation," which previous generations had perceived only as a wasteland, and his book has a conservationist flavor which seems distinctly modern. "The deserts should never be reclaimed," he writes. "They are the breathing spaces of the west and should be preserved for ever." The changing colors of the sky, hills, and sand impress Van Dyke, as do the mirages. He celebrates the "long overlooked commonplace things of nature"-- cactus and grease wood, desert animals, and "winged life," the birds and insects. His writing has a philosophical undertone. "Not in vain these wastes of sand ... simply because they are beautiful in themselves and good to look upon whether they be life or death." Anyone who views with equal awe fiery sunrises and weeds growing out of pavement cracks will enjoy this reading of Van Dyke's The Desert.(Summary by Sue Anderson) (5 hr 56 min)

Chapters

00 - Dedication-Preface 7:57 Read by Sue Anderson
01 - The Approach 32:05 Read by Sue Anderson
02 - The Make of the Desert 32:04 Read by Sue Anderson
03 - The Bottom of the Bowl 28:37 Read by Sue Anderson
04 - The Silent River 20:05 Read by Sue Anderson
05 - Light, Air, and Color 26:06 Read by Sue Anderson
06 - Desert Sky and Clouds 20:49 Read by Sue Anderson
07 - Illusions 28:53 Read by Sue Anderson
08 - Cactus and Greasewood 34:08 Read by Sue Anderson
09 - Desert Animals 35:26 Read by Sue Anderson
10 - Winged Life 30:00 Read by Sue Anderson
11 - Mesas and Foot-Hills 28:36 Read by Sue Anderson
12 - Mountain - Barriers 31:32 Read by Sue Anderson