Loren Eiseley was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books from the 1950s through the 1970s. During this period he received more than 36 honorary degrees and was a fellow of many distinguished professional societies. At his death, he was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
He was noted as a â€œscholar and writer of imagination and grace,â€ which gained him a reputation and a record of accomplishment far beyond the campus where he taught for 30 years. Publishers Weekly referred to him as "the modern Thoreau." In the broad scope of his many writings he reflected upon such diverse topics as the mind of Sir Francis Bacon, the prehistoric origins of man, and the contributions of Charles Darwin.
Eiseleyâ€™s national reputation was established mainly through his books, including The Immense Journey, Darwin's Century, The Unexpected Universe, The Night Country, and his memoir, All the Strange Hours. Science author Orville Prescott praised him as a scientist who â€œcan write with poetic sensibility and with a fine sense of wonder and of reverence before the mysteries of life and nature.â€œ Naturalist author Mary Ellen Pitts saw his combination of literary and nature writings as his "quest, not simply for bringing together science and literature... but a continuation of what the 18th and 19th century British naturalists and Thoreau had done." In praise of "The Unexpected Universe", Ray Bradbury remarked, "[Eiseley] is every writer's writer, and every human's human. . . one of us, yet most uncommon. . ."