A chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach, The Outermost House has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing. Henry Beston had originally planned to spend just two weeks in his seaside home, but was so possessed by the mysterious beauty of his surroundings that he found he "could not go."
Instead, he sat down to try and capture in words the wonders of the magical landscape he found himself in thrall to: the migrations of seabirds, the rhythms of the tide, the windblown dunes, and the scatter of stars in the changing summer sky. Beston argued that, "The world today is sick to its thin blood for the lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot." Seventy-five years after they were first published, Beston's words are more true than ever.
HENRY BESTON (1888-1968) was the author of many books, including The Outermost House, White Pine and Blue Water, and The St. Lawrence.
The recorded history of this northern land starts in the troubled era when the French and English battled each other and the Indians for sovereignty, told here in the words of early travelers, missionaries, soldiers. Then came the bloody days of revolution when Benedict Arnold marched on Quebec. The volume records the strange tale of two forgotten heroines, Maine women who accompanied their husbands on the trek through the Maine wilderness.
As America grew, prosperity came to Maine through her ports. Her seafaring days are described by such authors as Rachael Field and Edwin Arlington Robinson, while 19th century men and women--Longfellow, Henry Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe and James Russell Lowell among others--relate their own experiences in the Maine of that era. The inland Maine of tall trees and great rivers comes to life in the words of writers such as Stewart Holbrook and Ben Ames Williams.
In telling of the Maine of living memory Robert P. Tristram Coffin describes the ice trade on the Kennebec and Sarah Orne Jewett writes of an old seacoast mansion. F. Marion Crawford notes the entrance of the summer visitor at Bar Harbor in the eighteen nineties.
The farmlands and farmers of Maine command the attention of Elizabeth Coatsworth, Gladys Hastings Carroll and E. B. White, while Ruth Moore tells of Maine fishermen and Louise Dickinson Rich describes that imposing man, the Maine guide.
Henry Beston is a student of things American, a distinguished naturalist, and a Maine farmer. In preparing this volume he has been able to draw on a knowledge both of Maine literature and of the land itself. His wife is Elizabeth Coatsworth, the poet. Mr. Beston has written a number of books, including NORTHERN FARM, which state-of-Mainers put at the top of their own list.