By John George Wood
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1877
Subjects: Philosophy of Religion
Nature's Teachings, first published in 1877, was one of many books on natural history by J. G. Wood, a Victorian clergyman who was hugely influential in popularising the subject, as well as being the editor of The Boy's Own Magazine. Here he examines the close parallels between nature and human inventions in areas including seafaring (the raft, paddle and oar), war and hunting (barbs, poisons and projectiles), architecture, tools, optics and acoustics, as well as 'useful arts' including sewage disposal. His text contains over 750 figures and illustrations, and he argues that future great discoveries could be made as a result of careful observations of nature. Although a contemporary of Darwin, Wood largely ignored the evolution debates and focused on communicating his enthusiasm for the natural world to a non-scientific audience. His successful publications still make fascinating reading for those interested in Victorian culture and the history of education.