Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1903. First Edition. Hardcover. This paean to the high California desert consists of fourteen sketches based on personal observation following solitary sojourns tramping through desert trails and "the streets of the mountains." Mary Austin (1868-1934), naturalist, feminist, mystic, and poet, wrote thirty-five books and hundreds of articles during her lifetime, but The Land of Little Rain, her first book, is regarded as her masterpiece. Her nature writings have been compared to those of John Muir, John Burroughs, and Henry David Thoreau. Living in the little town of Independence, Inyo County, she, more than anyone, succeeded in conveying the beauty of this simultaneously forbidding yet magnetic landscape with its hardy mixture of plants, animals, and human beings. Lawrence Clark Powell summed up the beauty of her words, writing: "With her feet on earth and her head in the sky, she gave voice in singing prose to the soul of a hitherto unsung land." Through her carefully crafted essays, she conveyed to her readers the feel of the soil, the inherent beauty of the desert flora, the graceful movements of the rattlesnake, and the pleasant aromas emanating from a Native American cooking bowl. Importantly, Austin painted a word picture of an Owens Valley that would soon be changed forever when a thirsty Los Angeles siphoned off the life-giving water from this "land of little rain." Includes a frontispiece, three halftone plates, and numerous border decorations by E. Boyd Smith. Octavo. Original olive green cloth binding, with pictorial light green, dark green, gilt, and black stamping. Period ink inscription to the front flyleaf. The spine is darkened just a touch, with a bit of wear to the corners and tips, and a faint stain and some very light bubbling in the cloth on the front board; otherwise very good. The Zamorano Eighty 2. Very Good. Item #69498

Price: $400.00

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