Spooner, David 1941-

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Spooner, David 1941-

PERSONAL:

Born January 9, 1941, in West Kirby, Wirral, Merseyside, England; married Marion O'Neil (an archaeological illustrator), September 3, 1987; children: Ursula McBride. Education: University of Leeds, B.A. (with first class honors), 1963; University of Manchester, diploma (with distinction), 1964; University of Bristol, Ph.D., 1968. Politics: "Full time anti-bureaucrat!" Hobbies and other interests: Creating a wildlife garden, all sports.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury, Kent, England, lecturer in humanities and English, 1968-73; Borderline Press, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, director of publishing, 1977-87; naturalist and writer on entomology, literature, and philosophy, 1987—. Butterfly Conservation in Eastern Scotland, founder, 1995; London Diplomatic Academy, member of academic council; National Bio-diversity Committee for Scotland, member; consultant to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

MEMBER:

Welsh Academy (associate), Association Benjamin Constant, Thoreau Society.

AWARDS, HONORS:

American Medal of Honor for natural history, 2004; Legion of Honor, United Cultural Convention, 2005; Congressional Medal for Excellence in Literature.

WRITINGS:

Unmakings of an Englishman (poetry), Tabor Press, 1977.

The Angelic Fly (essays), Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1992.

The Metaphysics of Insect Life, and Other Essays, International Scholars Publications (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

The Poem and the Insect: Aspects of Twentieth-Century Hispanic Culture, International Scholars Publications (San Francisco, CA), 1998.

Creatures of Air: Poems, 1976-2001, Xlibris (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Thoreau's Vision of Insects and the Origins of American Entomology, Xlibris (Philadelphia, PA), 2002.

The Insect-Populated Mind: How Insects Have Influenced the Evolution of Consciousness, Hamilton Books (Lanham, MD), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Annales Benjamin Constant, Bestia, Butterfly Conservation News, Forth Naturalist and Historian, Field Studies, Interactions, Epoch, Margin, and Tandem.

SIDELIGHTS:

David Spooner once told CA: "What I am doing is to show how insect processes, such as metamorphosis, are more crucial to natural selection than evolutionary theorists have accepted. We are stuck at the fact of human evolution from the great apes, but the quaternal principles of insect development define what it is to be human. If we include the very greatest works of human consciousness, then humanity owes as much to the insect as the ape in its formation. The fourfold metamorphic principles of insect development have infiltrated language and creativity, all but unnoticed.

"My fascination with lepidoptera spans a quarter of a century, and I am especially delighted to have been an advisor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the successful rescue of the el Segundo blue butterfly at the dunes by the Los Angeles Airport. As an advocate of the pantheistic unity of theory and practice, I also founded Butterfly Conservation in Eastern Scotland, and have served on the National Bio-diversity Committee for Scotland. Academicism in its idealist sense is quite irrelevant amidst the crisis of the planet. This also has a political dimension, and I am a member of the academic council of the London Diplomatic Academy, which seeks to reestablish the role of the United Nations and international law.

"I began writing because I sensed a gap, some unmade synthesis between the arts, linguistics, and the natural sciences. Two books were the catalysts of my thinking, two wonderful books full of Blakean energy and synthesizing genius. They were Norman O. Brown's master works Life against Death and Love's Body. Brown's books are actually essential supplements to the work of his great friend Christopher Hill on the British Revolution of the seventeenth century. Working back from the modern legal concepts of ‘person,’ he projects onto a vast humanscape the theater of present-day life. Brown was the greatest radical thinker of the twentieth century.

"I only emerged as a writer of books at the age of fifty, although some of my work had appeared piecemeal in journals before then. Books have to grow organically over a long and absorbing journey."

Spooner later added: "When lecturing, I always felt there was a book missing somewhere between Darwin and Freud. This would be a book that combined the arts and sciences in a type of science that yet was not science, nor yet art—not so much science plus art as science multiplied by art. In finding structures common to both, I have hoped to reveal some new things….

"My writing process is as straightforward as can be imagined. Insofar as I am presuming to put together entomology, etymology, evolutionary psychology, the physical sciences, literature, and music, I try to unite an epitome of these fields as they impinge upon my ideas (this to appeal to the general reader), together with carrying forward the argument as I draw upon those fields. It is a quasi-alchemical process of essences."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

ONLINE

David Spooner Home Page,http://www.davidspooner.org (May 30, 2008).

David Spooner Home Page,http://members.authorsguild.net/davidspooner (July 15, 2008).