Patrick Wilcken

Spirit of the Pampas

Living in the Sound of the Wind: A Personal Quest for W H Hudson – Naturalist & Writer from the River Plate


Constable 310pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Argentinian writer, ornithologist and proto-green campaigner William Henry Hudson was a deliberately enigmatic figure. Not fully understood in his own time, he remains difficult to grasp many biographies later. Born into a ‘displaced American family’ in 1841 in Buenos Aires province, he spent his youth roving the vast expanses of the pampas, an observer of its birdlife and a witness to its often brutal frontier culture. He left for England in his early thirties, never to return. In London he cut a striking figure: a tall, tanned and fit South American, who maintained the ‘lithe step of an athlete into old age’.

His struggle to adapt fully to what he called the ‘sad world of London’ produced an eclectic output of writing – books on Argentinian and British birdlife, the English countryside,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,