The Book of Beasts

by Terence Hanbury White | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0486246094 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingCordelia-annewing of Someplace, Georgia USA on 8/9/2018
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingCordelia-annewing from Someplace, Georgia USA on Thursday, August 09, 2018
This is a really wonderful reference book. I love the entries for beasts real and imagined. I love Dover books too for offering such obscure titles. However, this one is not well made. It had to be glued back together a few times. The illustrations in black and white are lovely and this is very well indexed. The Fenix or Phoenix, symbol of the city of Atlanta, is to be found on page 125 and the Pavo or Peacock, Georgia writer Flannery O'Connor's "King of Birds," is on page 149. The book features a great bibliography, index and excellent notes throughout so it's a treat for the medieval scholar as well as for the general reader.
In honor of the Phoenix, I have affixed a bookplate with an Atlanta image, featuring my photo of Georgia artist Steffen Thomas' TRILON, which is at an intersection of Peachtree and 15th Streets at the High Museum and Colony Square. A native of Fürth, Germany, Thomas was of Welch and German ancestry. He first made his home here in Georgia back in the 1930s and married Sara Douglass, a Southern lady from a prominent Atlanta family, in 1933. Sara became his lifelong muse. They raised four children in Stone Mountain, Georgia, near his studio. Trilon honors the Southern Woman.

From the Back Cover:
"If a serpent swallows the spittle of a fasting man, it dies. Trees felled in the wrong season breed termites. If eels are drowned in wine, those who drink it get a loathing for liquor.

"These and similar flights of fancy were articles of faith in the twelfth century--the era of the fascinating Latin prose bestiary translated in this volume. The translator is T. H. White, author of "The Once and Future King "and outstanding medievalist. Of "The Book of Beasts, "White writes: "No Latin prose bestiary has ever before been "printed, " even in Latin. This is the first and "only" English translation in print."
The bestiary was a bestseller in the Middle Ages, a kind of natural history cum-zoological survey that presumed to describe the animals of the world and to point out the human traits they exemplified. Combining the surprisingly accurate with the endearingly phantasmagorical, the bestiarists came up with a bewildering array of real and exotic creatures. The behavior or attributes of the animals often functioned as a metaphor for teaching religious, moral, and political precepts.

In addition to a multitude of real mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, described here with varying degrees of zoological accuracy, the bestiarist introduces a swarm of fanciful denizens thought to haunt the Dark Ages: "manticore, "a creature with a man's face, a lion's body, and a ravenous appetite for human flesh; "dragon" or "draco, " the biggest serpent and the embodiment of the Devil; "amphivia, " a fish that could walk on land and swim in the sea; "jaculus, " a flying serpent; the familiar" phoenix"; the "griffin"; and other exotic fauna. Much of the charm of this edition lies in the copious footnotes compiled by T. H. White. With immense erudition, wit, grace, and a singular lack of condescension, the author illuminates literary, scientific, historical, linguistic, and other aspects of the bestiarist's catalog. He further enhances the volume with informative discussions of the history of the bestiary from its origins in remote oral traditions; through Herodotus, Pliny and Aristotle; during the medieval period and the Renaissance; and up to Sir Thomas Browne's "Vulgar Errors" (1646). Both amusing and amazing, "The Book of Beasts" is not only a rich survey of the proto-zoology on which much of our later science is based, but also a revealing, illustrated examination of how pre-scientific man perceived the earth's creatures.

The Book of Beasts: Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century

Terence Hanbury (T.H.) White

Dover Publications: Unabridged Reprint of an edition published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1954.

Journal Entry 2 by wingCordelia-annewing at Someplace, Georgia USA on Wednesday, September 04, 2019
I have decided to send this patched up book out into the world for BookCrossing's 15th annual "You're Such an Animal" release challenge. I hope it finds a great new home.

Journal Entry 3 by wingCordelia-annewing at Briarlake Forest Park in Atlanta, Georgia USA on Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Released 6 mos ago (9/4/2019 UTC) at Briarlake Forest Park in Atlanta, Georgia USA


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Journal Entry 4 by wingCordelia-annewing at Someplace, Georgia USA on Thursday, September 12, 2019
At Briarlake Park's Little Free Library, I was happy to see today that this book has been claimed. I hope it will have GREAT reading or reference adventures.

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