By Scott Gillam
A biography of Rachel Carson, the marine biologist and nature author whose writings are credited with advancing the worldwide environmental move.
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Extra resources for Rachel Carson: Pioneer of Environmentalism
Carson took Skinker’s advice. This time, Higgins was more open-minded. Perhaps his change of heart was due to an urgent problem. His department was responsible for writing 52 seven-minute scripts for a radio program series about fish behavior. The series was jokingly called “seven-minute fish tales” by the department staff, but none of them could make the topics sound interesting to listeners. Could Carson do any better? She explained that she had begun college as an English major and had published several pieces in the college literary magazine.
The emphasis on research and pursuit of advanced degrees left Carson little time for any social life. Also, the work at Johns Hopkins was more demanding. Her previous classes had stressed general knowledge. Carson’s gift had always been to explain clearly and poetically the web of interrelationships between living things and their environment. Now she was expected to specialize. Carson did very well in her course work. Her master’s thesis, however, dealt with a primitive form of the kidney in catfish—hardly a topic to inspire poetic writing.
In addition, her duties at the Bureau of Fisheries left few free hours to work on the book. Hiring a Literary Agent A former colleague suggested that Carson hire a literary agent. Literary agents are people who handle the business side of a writer’s life. They contact possible publishers, obtain rights and permissions for previously published work, and seek out ways a writer can make money and save time. In Marie Rodell, Carson found someone who excelled at doing all of these things. Rodell quickly eased Carson’s financial needs by suggesting Carson apply for a Saxton Fellowship.