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Breaking Through

Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts

Edward F. Ricketts Jr. (Author), Katharine A. Rodger (Editor), Edward F. Ricketts Jr. (Editor), Susan F. Beegel (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 369 pages
ISBN: 9780520247048
May 2006
$85.00, £66.00
Other Formats Available:
Trailblazing marine biologist, visionary conservationist, deep ecology philosopher, Edward F. Ricketts (1897–1948) has reached legendary status in the California mythos. A true polymath and a thinker ahead of his time, Ricketts was a scientist who worked in passionate collaboration with many of his friends—artists, writers, and influential intellectual figures—including, perhaps most famously, John Steinbeck, who once said that Ricketts's mind “had no horizons.” This unprecedented collection, featuring previously unpublished pieces as well as others available for the first time in their original form, reflects the wide scope of Ricketts’s scientific, philosophical, and literary interests during the years he lived and worked on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. These writings, which together illuminate the evolution of Ricketts’s unique, holistic approach to science, include “Verbatim transcription of notes on the Gulf of California trip,” the basic manuscript for Steinbeck’s and Ricketts’s Log from the Sea of Cortez; the essays “The Philosophy of Breaking Through” and “A Spiritual Morphology of Poetry;” several shorter pieces on topics including collecting invertebrates and the impact of modernization on Mexican village life; and more. An engaging critical biography and a number of rare photographs offer a new and richly detailed view of Ricketts’s life.
Editor’s Note

1. Foreword to the 1925 Pacific Biological Laboratories Catalog
2. "Zoological Introduction" to Between Pacific Tides
3. The Philosophy of "Breaking Through"
4. A Spiritual Morphology of Poetry
5. Essay on Non-teleological Thinking
6. Verbatim Transcription of Notes of Gulf of California Trip
7. Thesis and Materials for a Script on Mexico
8. "Outline and Conspectus" for a Book on the Mandated Islands
9. Transcript of Summer 1945 and 1946 Notes Based on Trips to the Outer Shores
10. Investigator Blames Industry, Nature for Shortage

Living at the Lab with My Father
Memoir by Ed Ricketts Jr.
Early Days: Nicknames and Such
Memoir by Nancy Ricketts
Works Cited
Edward F. Ricketts co-authored several books, among them Between Pacific Tides (1939), now in its fifth, revised edition and still regarded as the definitive ecological handbook on the California littoral. Katharine A. Rodger is editor of Renaissance Man of Cannery Row: The Life and Letters of Edward F. Ricketts (2002). Susan F. Beegel, editor of The Hemingway Review, coedited Steinbeck and the Environment (1997).
“This new collection’s detailed field observations, along with the author’s musings on science, literature, and modern society, give the reader a strong sense of the passion Ricketts brought to both research and thinking about humanity’s place in the world.”—Bay Nature
“Splendid.”—Geoffrey Dunn Metro Newspapers
"I found it fascinating to read"—Urban Farm
"To have begun to know Ed Ricketts even a little—whether as the satyr-god of Cannery Row, pioneering ecologist and marine biologist, magical Steinbeck character, co-author of a classic 'voyage of discovery,' or legendary friend and mentor of the great—is to want to know more."—From the foreword by Susan F. Beegel, editor of The Hemingway Review

"This biography and collection is invaluable for those seeking to understand all about Ed Ricketts, not as Steinbeck's "Doc," but as the complex, visionary thinker and scientist that he was. Rodger gives us Ricketts's seminal writings, some for the first time in print, that reveal his lifelong struggle to come to grips with the complexities of marine ecology at all levels. Today's researchers would do well to try and grasp his prescient, holistic ideas about the universal connections linking organisms, species, communities, and their environment."—William F. Gilly, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University

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