Fraser Darling's Islands

Fraser Darling's Islands

Fraser Darling's Islands

Fraser Darling's Islands

Excerpt

Frank Fraser Darling had a gift of writing scientifically in a biographical way. His books revealed a great deal of his own character as well as his biology. It is the aim of the Edinburgh Series to give a precise account of scientific results within a biographical framework, similar to the writings of Fraser Darling in A Herd of Red Deer, Bird Flocks and the Breeding Cycle and A Naturalist on Rona, and to tap the rich field of biological research using islands as natural laboratories -- again like Fraser Darling, starting in the Scottish islands and extending in interest to other parts of the world.

This inaugural volume is not intended to be a biography; it is a portrait of Fraser Darling as I knew him and from his books, journals and letters. I have attempted to let Sir Frank tell his own story. He was an industrious and lucid writer of journals: fluent, lyrical and precise. Much of the text from his journals of Priest Island, Treshnish and North Rona has already been published in Island Years. However, I have preferred the original hand-written text to the published and have included much unpublished material. (This means that I needed to follow his fairly free way with Gaelic spellings.)

The book deals with the Scottish period of Fraser Darling's life which is comparatively unknown to his international public; just as most of his international eminence went unsung among the Scottish people for whom he felt great affinity. The Prologue gives a sight of him at the peak of his career and the Epilogue the same in retirement and declining health. My decision to write the book in this way springs from a promise I made to Fraser Darling that I would edit and have published his African journal after his death; this book prepares the ground for the fulfilment of that promise.

In this writing, I have been aware of the sensitive areas of . . .

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