Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Titles

 
1) Landes, Joan B., Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist (editors). Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective. 2012. The Pennsylvania State University Press. Hardbound: 231 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Gorgeous Beasts takes a fresh look at the place of animals in history and art. Refusing the traditional subordination of animals to humans, the essays gathered here examine a rich variety of ways animals contribute to culture: as living things, as scientific specimens, as food, weapons, tropes, and occasions for thought and creativity. History and culture set the terms for this inquiry. As history changes, so do the ways animals participate in culture. Gorgeous Beasts offers a series of discontinuous but probing studies of the forms their participation takes.
      This collection presents the work of a wide range of scholars, critics, and thinkers from diverse disciplines: philosophy, literature, history, geography, economics, art history, cultural studies, and the visual arts. By approaching animals from such different perspectives, these essays broaden the scope of animal studies to include specialists and nonspecialists alike, inviting readers from all backgrounds to consider the place of animals in history and art. Combining provocative critical insights with arresting visual imagery, Gorgeous Beasts advances a challenging new appreciation of animals as co-inhabitants and co-creators of culture.
      Aside from the editors, the contributors are Dean Bavington, Ron Broglio, Mark Dion, Erica Fudge, Cecilia Novero, Harriet Ritvo, Nigel Rothfels, Sajay Samuel, and Pierre Serna.

   
2) Poliquin, Rachael. The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing. 2012. The Pennsylvania State Unviersity Press. Paperback: 259 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: From sixteenth-century cabinets of wonders to contemporary animal art, The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing examines the cultural and poetic history of preserving animals in lively postures. But why would anyone want to preserve an animal, and what is this animal-thing now? Rachel Poliquin suggests that taxidermy is entwined with the enduring human longing to find meaning with and within the natural world. Her study draws out the longings at the heart of taxidermy—the longing for wonder, beauty, spectacle, order, narrative, allegory, and remembrance. In so doing, The Breathless Zoo explores the animal spectacles desired by particular communities, human assumptions of superiority, the yearnings for hidden truths within animal form, and the loneliness and longing that haunt our strange human existence, being both within and apart from nature.
 RECOMMENDATION: These titles are the first two volumes in the Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures series.

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