Synopses & Reviews
The animal kingdom has been celebrated in literature with an enthusiasm equalled only by our insatiable curiosity about the creatures with whom we share this planet. From Emily Dickinson's ode to the spider to Ogden Nash's musings on the lowly caterpillar, from Darwin's observations to Beatrix Potter's much-loved tales, we are enchanted by naturalists, explorers, philosophers, poets, and writers of all stripes. The Oxford Book of Creatures
brings together all of these observers to include the work of writers ranging from Aristotle to Orwell, Montaigne to Johnson, May Sarton to Theodore Roethke, Primo Levi to J. R. R. Tolkien, all rejoicing in the life that surrounds us.
Here are works from across cultures and time periods, musings on animals both real and imagined. Arranged thematically, The Oxford Book of Creatures embraces the function and beauty of the design and movement of creatures, their various habitats, mating and rearing of young, work (both for their own communities and when harnessed to human purposes), and their roles as predator and prey; extinct species are included, as are fabulous or invented ones. About 250 creatures, from the least significant to the most majestic, can be found, fish, birds, mammals, insects: fleas and centipedes, pigs and cows, horses and elephants, unicorns and salamanders, kraken and leviathans crowd these pages.
We react to animals with a variety of emotions: love, fear, disgust, and amazement. We domesticate them, befriend them, hunt them, and eat them, and above all, as this absorbing anthology shows, observe them with fascination and respect.
About the Author
About the Editors:
Fleur Adcock is a well-known poet and writer whose publications include Selected Poems (1983), The Incident Book (1986), and Time-Zones (1991). Jacqueline Simms is a freelance writer and editor of the Oxford Poets series.