The Wild Animal Story

edited by Ralph H. Lutts
Association of American University Presses Book Jacket Award, 1999
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-918-0
Publication: Aug 01

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-593-9
Publication: Apr 98

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0150-2
Publication: Aug 01

328 pages
6 x 9
4 figs., 15 halftones

An anthology of some of the most celebrated animal stories ever collected


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the wild animal story emerged in Canadian literature as a distinct genre, in which animals pursue their own interests—survival for themselves, their offspring, and perhaps a mate, or the pure pleasure of their wildness.

Bringing together some of the most celebrated wild animal stories, Ralph H. Lutts places them firmly in the context of heated controversies about animal intelligence and purposeful behavior. Widely regarded as entertaining and educational, the early stories—by Charles G. D. Roberts, Ernest Thompson Seton, John Muir, Jack London and others—had an avid readership among adults and children. But some naturalists and at least one hunter—Theodore Roosevelt—discredited these writers as "nature fakers," accusing them of falsely portraying animal behavior.

The stories and commentaries collected here span the twentieth century. As present day animal behaviorists, psychologists, and the public attempt to sort out the meaning of what animals do and our obligations to them, Ralph Lutts maps some of the prominent features of our cultural landscape.

Tales include:

  • The Springfield Fox by Ernest Thompson Seton

  • The Sounding of the Call by Jack London

  • Stickeen by John Muir

  • Journey to the Sea by Rachel Carson

Other selections include esssays by Theoore Roosevelt, John Burroughs, Margaret Atwood, and Ralph H. Lutts.


"A marvelous collection of turn-of-the-century animal stories...The Wild Animal Story is well conceived, sensibly organized, admirably complete, and judiciously framed. One hopes that this indispensable and fascinating sourcebook will inspire renewed critical attention to this promising area of research."

Table of Contents

1. The Wild Animal Story: Animals and Ideas – Ralph H. Lutts

Part I: Tales
2. On His Animal Stories – Charles G. D. Roberts
3. Do Seek Their Meat from God – Charles G. D. Roberts
4. The Rivals of Ringwaak – Charles G. D. Roberts
5. On His Animal Stories – Ernest Thompson Seton
6. Lobo: The King of the Currumpaw – Ernest Thompson Seton
7. The Springfield Fox – Ernest Thompson Seton
8. On His Animal Stories – William J. Long
9. A School for Little Fishermen – William J. Long
10. Trails That Cross in the Snow – William J. Long
11. A Woodcock Genius – William J. Long
12. The Sounding of the Call – Jack London
13. Stickeen – John Muir
14. Journey to the Sea – Rachel L. Carson

Part II: Controversy
15. Real and Sham Natural History – John Burroughs
16. The Modern School of Nature-Study and Its Critics – William J. Long
17. The Fate of Little Mucky – Ernest Thompson Seton
18. The Writings of William J. Long – W. F. Ganong
19. Truth Plain and Coloured – W. H. Hudson
20. Nature as a Field for Fiction – Mabel Osgood Wright
21. Roosevelt on the Nature Fakirs – Edward B. Clark
22. "I Propose to Smoke Roosevelt Out" – Dr. Long
23. Charles G.D. Roberts Defends His Nature Stories
24. Real Naturalists on Nature Faking – Edward B. Clark
25. "Nature Fakers" – Theodore Roosevelt
26. The Other Animals – Jack London
27. Chipmunk Thoughts – John Burroughs

Part III: Interpretations
28. Animal Victims – Margaret Atwood
29. The Revolt Against Instinct: The Animal Stories of Seton and Roberts – Robert H. MacDonald
30. The Realistic Animal Story: Ernest Thompson Seton, Charles Roberts, and Darwinism – Thomas R. Dunlap
31. Stickeen and the Moral Education of John Muir – Ronald H. Limbaugh
32. Will the Real Wild Animal Please Stand Up! The Nature Fakers – Ralph H. Lutts

About the Writers

About the Author(s)

Ralph H. Lutts, Associate Faculty, Goddard College Off-Campus BA/MA Program and Adjunct Faculty, University of Virginia, Division of Continuing Education, is the author of The Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science, and Sentiment.


In the Series

  • Animals, Culture, and Society edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders

    Animals, Culture, and Society, edited by Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders, is concerned with probing the complex and contradictory human-animal relationship through the publication of accessible books that consider the place of animals in our culture, our literature, our society, and our homes.