The Mythical Zoo: Animals in Myth, Legend, and Literature

The Mythical Zoo Animals in Myth Legend and Literature First thought to be divine animals have played an active role in human culture since prehistoric times Even today animals wield symbolic powers as varied as the cultures that embrace them From ants

  • Title: The Mythical Zoo: Animals in Myth, Legend, and Literature
  • Author: Boria Sax
  • ISBN: 9780715647325
  • Page: 205
  • Format: Unknown Binding
  • First thought to be divine, animals have played an active role in human culture since prehistoric times Even today, animals wield symbolic powers as varied as the cultures that embrace them From ants and elephants to tigers and wrens, the 75 conversational entries in this volume weave together a cross cultural tapestry encompassing mythology, history, art, science, philoFirst thought to be divine, animals have played an active role in human culture since prehistoric times Even today, animals wield symbolic powers as varied as the cultures that embrace them From ants and elephants to tigers and wrens, the 75 conversational entries in this volume weave together a cross cultural tapestry encompassing mythology, history, art, science, philosophy and literature while discussing the special significance of animals in human cultures.

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    About " Boria Sax "

  • Boria Sax

    I first became interested in the literature of animals around the end of the 1980 s, not terribly long after I had obtained my PhD in German and intellectual history I was feeling frustrated in my search for an academic job and even study of literature By accident, I came across an encyclopedia of animals that had been written in the early nineteenth century There, without any self consciousness, was a new world of romance and adventure, filled with turkeys that spoke Arabic, beavers that build like architects, and dogs that solve murders Within a few months, I had junked my previous research and devoted my studies to these texts.Today, I shudder how nervy the switch was for a destitute young scholar, who, despite one book and several articles, had not managed to obtain any steady job except mopping floors But soon I had managed to publish two books on animals in literature, The Frog King 1990 and The Parliament of Animals 1992 Around 1995, I founded Nature in Legend and Story NILAS, Inc , an organization that combines storytelling and scholarship It was initially, a sort of rag tag band of intellectual adventurers who loved literature but could not find a niche in the scholarly world We put together a few conferences, which generated a lot of excitement among the few who attended, but little notice in academia or in what they sometimes call the real world From fables and anecdotes, I moved to mythology, and published The Serpent and the Swan 1997 , a study of animal bride tales from around the world This was followed by many further publications including an examination of the darker side of animal studies, Animals in the Third Reich 2000 , and a sort of compendium, The Mythical Zoo 2002 , and a cultural history of corvids entitled Crow 2003 My most recent book is City of Ravens London, its Tower and its Famous Ravens 2011 , and Imaginary Animals will be published soon by Reaktion Books in London.When I embarked on the study of animals in myth and literature, even graduate students did not have to mention a few dozen books just to show that they had read them In barely than a couple decades, the literature on human animal relations has grown enormously in both quantity and sophistication NILAS, I am proud to say, has become a well established organization, which has sponsored two highly successful conferences together with ISAZ.But as the study of animals, what I like to call totemic literature, becomes of a standard feature of academic programs, I fear that something may be lost It is now just a little too easy to discourse about the social construction and the transgression of boundaries between animals and human beings Even as I admire the subtlety of such analysis, I sometimes find myself thinking, So what Having been there close to the beginning, part of my role is now to preserve some the sensuous immediacy, with that filled the study of animals in literature when it was still a novelty That sort of poetry is not simply a luxury in our intellectual pursuits With such developments as cloning, genetic engineering, and the massive destruction of natural habitats, we face crises so unprecedented that traditional philosophies, from utilitarianism to deep ecology, can offer us precious little guidance The possibilities are so overwhelming, that we hardly even know what questions to ask But neither, I am sure, did the fugitive who once encountered a mermaid in the middle of the woods.

  • 109 Comments


  • An entertaining, informative book that pulls stories & facts about a wide range of animals from many sources. It could have used an editor, though. There are many typos & a few geographical errors: Jericho isn't in or near Turkey, Theseus wanders the Labyrinth & the Minotaur lives there (not the other way 'round, Crimea isn't an island & there isn't an ancient Egyptian city called 'Crocopolis.'


  • I found "Mythical Zoo: Animals in Life, Legend and Literature" to be quite an enjoyable read. It was different than I initially thought it was going to be. Instead of being a book recounting various mythical creatures it instead discusses animals that exist today and how they have been used in various literature throughout history. It serves mostly as an encyclopedia which I enjoyed taking my time delving through. One should be aware of this though when reading it because it is more time consumi [...]


  • This book would have been better except for the errors I kept finding as I was reading. Things that should have been taken care of during editing.


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