The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary

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University of Chicago Press, 10 avr. 2013 - 448 pages
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From medieval bestiaries to Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, we’ve long been enchanted by extraordinary animals, be they terrifying three-headed dogs or asps impervious to a snake charmer’s song. But bestiaries are more than just zany zoology—they are artful attempts to convey broader beliefs about human beings and the natural order. Today, we no longer fear sea monsters or banshees. But from the infamous honey badger to the giant squid, animals continue to captivate us with the things they can do and the things they cannot, what we know about them and what we don’t.

With The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, Caspar Henderson offers readers a fascinating, beautifully produced modern-day menagerie. But whereas medieval bestiaries were often based on folklore and myth, the creatures that abound in Henderson’s book—from the axolotl to the zebrafish—are, with one exception, very much with us, albeit sometimes in depleted numbers. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings transports readers to a world of real creatures that seem as if they should be made up—that are somehow more astonishing than anything we might have imagined. The yeti crab, for example, uses its furry claws to farm the bacteria on which it feeds. The waterbear, meanwhile, is among nature’s “extreme survivors,” able to withstand a week unprotected in outer space. These and other strange and surprising species invite readers to reflect on what we value—or fail to value—and what we might change.

A powerful combination of wit, cutting-edge natural history, and philosophical meditation, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an infectious and inspiring celebration of the sheer ingenuity and variety of life in a time of crisis and change.
 

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LibraryThing Review

Avis d'utilisateur  - Widsith - LibraryThing

Taking his cue from medieval bestiaries, Caspar Henderson set out to write a modern compendium of beasts, and show, in the process, that truth is a lot weirder than fiction. Forget about your griffons ... Consulter l'avis complet

LibraryThing Review

Avis d'utilisateur  - Michael.Rimmer - LibraryThing

An A-Z listing of some (generally) little known creatures which the author uses as springboards for more general musings. The author chose an eclectic and unusual choice of animals and part of the fun ... Consulter l'avis complet

Table des matières

Axolotl
1
Barrel Sponge
25
Crown of Thorns Starfish
39
Dolphin
51
Eel And Other Monsters
67
Flatworm And Other Worms
81
Gonodactylus The Genital Fingered Stomatopod
99
Human
117
Sea Butterfly
283
Thorny Devil
295
Goblin Shark
305
Venuss Girdle
315
Waterbear
321
Xenoglaux The LongWhiskered Owlet
331
Xenophyophore
341
Yeti Crab
353

Iridogorgia Pourtales II
133
Japanese Macaque
151
The Honey Badger and the Honeyguide
171
Leatherback Turtle
183
A Jumping Spider
197
Nautilus
207
Octopus
225
Pufferfish
239
Quetzalcoatlus
245
Right Whale
267
Zebrafish
367
A Conclusion In Which Nothing Is Concluded
377
Biological Classification
381
Deep Time
385
Bibliography
389
Thanks
412
Picture Credits
414
Text Credits
416
Index
418
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À propos de l'auteur (2013)

Caspar Henderson is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Independent, and New Scientist. He lives in Oxford, UK.

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