“In recreating The American Woodsman, as Audubon so delighted to characterize himself, it is with the hope that I shall let him speak for himself, and set him wandering again in the printed pages as he did, a century and more ago, through the magnolia forests of his beloved Louisiana.”
—Stanley Clisby Arthur, from the Prologue
John James Audubon was one of the greatest artists and naturalists of all time. For many years a biographical screen consisting of a heterogeneous combination of fact, fancy, and misrepresentation obscured the real Audubon. Some of the contributions to this shroud were penned by loving but misguided relatives who, through domestic partiality when writing about him, colored his life misleadingly. His own account of himself and his affairs, which was never completed and was generously edited before being given to the public, is manifestly not four-square with fact . . . for Audubon had a romantic imagination which defeats verification.
This detailed biography provides an extensive look into the background of a man variously described as a dandy, an unkempt wanderer, and a gifted artist. Above all, it is clear that John James Audubon was a man of many talents, revealed here in his own words.