Synopses & Reviews
and#160;andldquo;At length did cross an Albatross, / Through the fog it came; / As if it had been a Christian soul, / We hailed it in Godandrsquo;s name.andrdquo; The introduction of the albatross in Samuel Taylor Coleridgeandrsquo;s andldquo;The Rime of the Ancient Marinerandrdquo; remains one of the most well-known references to this majestic seabird in Western culture. In Albatross, Graham Barwell goes beyond Coleridge to examine the role the bird plays in the lives of a wide variety of peoples and societies, from the early views of north Atlantic mariners to modern encounters by writers, artists, and filmmakers.and#160;Exploring how the bird has been celebrated in proverbs, folk stories, art, and ceremonies, Barwell shows how people marvel at the way the albatross soars through the air, covering awe-inspiring distances with little effort thanks to its impressive wingspan. He surveys the many approaches people have taken to thinking about the albatross over the past two hundred yearsandmdash;from those who devoted their lives to these birds to those who hunted them for food and sportandmdash;and discusses its place in the human imagination. Concluding with a reflection on the birdandrsquo;s changing significance in the modern world, Barwell considers threats to its continued existence and its prospects for the future. With one hundred illustrations from nature, film, and popular culture, Albatross is an absorbing look at these beautiful birds.
and#8220;Whenever a new title in this entertaining and#8216;Animaland#8217; series lands on my desk, it feels like a real treat, and this one does not disappoint. . . . Albatross
brings together a wonderful mix of fact, fiction, legend, art, and science about one creature. In short, it covers a lot of ground. It looks at the role the albatross has played in the different lives and cultures of humans, the wonder of its awesomely long journeys, and the knowledge gained from studying it, followed by consequent conservation measures and the way we see this iconic bird in the modern world. It is a great little book to read through, or to dip into.and#8221;and#160;
andldquo;I am partial to books well made, quality effort in assembly and choice of materials as well as content. Albatross
qualifies in every way.andnbsp;There are sixty-five volumes in this animal series, subjects ranging from chickens to cats, from lobsters to lions. If this book is an indication of quality, I would like to have them all.andrdquo;
* Illustrated and accessible guide to this unique aviatorDespite their iconic cultural status, real albatrosses are largely confined to the region referred to by early mariners as the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties, otherwise known as the Southern Ocean. The single most distinctive characteristic of these birds is that they ride storms. Aside from a few close relatives among the petrels and shearwaters, they are the only animals (of any kind) that do this. They don t evade storms, or flee them, they climb aboard and ride them. The meteorology of the Southern Ocean is so extreme that the region might reasonably be viewed as essentially one enormous, endless storm. For any non-aquatic animal, this characteristic makes the Southern Ocean nearly as inhospitable as the polar wastes or the most extreme of deserts. To all but the albatross, that is.This work outlines the life histories of these spectacular birds, and explores some of the main strategies and tactics that have evolved to enable them to achieve mastery of one of the most hostile regions on the planet.
This work outlines the life histories of these spectacular birds, and explores some of the main strategies and tactics that have evolved to enable them to achieve mastery of one of the most hostile regions on the planet.
About the Author
and#160;Graham Barwell teaches English, media, and cultural studies at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia.
Table of Contents
1 Encountering the Albatross
2 Imagining the Albatross
3 Using the Albatross: Indigenous Cultures of the Pacific
4 Using the Albatross: Non-indigenous Peoples
5 Saving the Albatross
6 The Albatross Today: An Iconic Bird
Associations and Websites