W. H. Hudson Biography


ph_0111207090-Hudson.jpg W. H. Hudson Published by Salem Press, Inc.

The naturalist and writer William Henry Hudson was born at Quilmes, a short distance west of Buenos Aires, on August 4, 1841. His father, Daniel Hudson, who was of English descent and born in Massachusetts, had left New England under threat of tuberculosis to seek a gentler climate in Argentina. There, he and his wife, Katherine Kimball, who came from Maine, raised a family of six children. William Henry, the fourth of their five sons, was a strong, alert child who rode his pony about the pampas and developed an absorbing interest in the bird life of the great plains. From these contacts with nature he learned much that was of later benefit to him, quite possibly more than he learned from the ill-equipped tutors with whom he had his formal training.{$S[A]Harford, Henry;Hudson, W. H.}

At the age of twenty-eight, Hudson left South America to take up permanent residence in England. During his teens, an attack of rheumatic fever had left him with a weakened heart, and he decided that Argentina was no place for someone who could not lead an active outdoor life. Moreover, the death of his father the year before had severed the last strong tie with his boyhood home.

Hudson’s earliest years in England were marked by poverty and loneliness. For a time, he became secretary to an eccentric archaeologist, who often lacked money to pay him. In 1876, he married Emily Wingreave, a gentle woman fifteen years older than Hudson; she admired her husband...

(The entire section is 481 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

William Henry Hudson was born on August 4, 1841, on an estancia about ten miles outside Buenos Aires, Argentina. His parents were both American, but he had British grandparents on both sides of the family. His parents seem to have been very devoted to their children, and Hudson apparently enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the pampas; his memories of it recorded in Far Away and Long Ago were fond in the extreme. During his adolescence, however, he developed solitary tendencies, drifting away from the company of his siblings. During these years, he gave himself over to the patient and lonely study of nature.

Very little is known of Hudson’s later years in South America; his autobiography has nothing to say of his life after he reached adolescence, and Morley Roberts, who wrote a book about Hudson’s later life, did not meet him until 1880. By the time Hudson went to England in 1869, his parents were dead and the family had dispersed. Apparently, he had spent a good deal of the previous few years wandering aimlessly in South America; it is tempting to associate certain incidents described in The Purple Land with experiences he may have had during these years, but to do so would be mere conjecture.

Hudson’s early days in England are also undocumented. He apparently had various odd jobs, including researching genealogies for Americans, but did not settle down or make much of a living. In 1876, he met and married Emily Wingrave,...

(The entire section is 595 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

William Henry Hudson was born of American parents on the Argentine pampas south of Buenos Aires on August 4, 1841. In the 1830s his father,...

(The entire section is 517 words.)