By Gregory McNamee
Following the version of the medieval Latin bestiaries, Gregory McNamee has written a ebook immediately naturalistic, folkloristic, and literary, made from brief essays on forty-three animals of the world’s deserts. those essays talk about the creatures as they're and as they're imagined, and produce their usual lives and histories vividly to the web page.
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Extra resources for A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places
These are all things we can do Page 18 something about. We would do well to emulate the Africanized bees' industriousness when we finally set to work on them. The real danger in the rise and spread of the Africanized bee is one of those big-picture issues that come to light only when it's too late to do anything about them. In this case, as Tucsonbased scientists Stephen Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan report in Forgotten Pollinators, that issue is the long-term destruction of native insect populations, especially bees, through the use of agricultural pesticides.
That metaphoric process ranges throughout our literature. In its ancient expression, in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the fables of Aesop and indigenous stories the world over, animals serve as moral exemplars, as reminders against gluttony and sloth and envy, as counters toward an ethic of the common wealth and lives well lived. In late antiquity and the Middle Ages, that moral direction continued, but in such works as the Historia Naturalis of Pliny and the Questiones Naturales of Adelard we also see a movement toward describing animals not only as markers in the great chain of being but also as things that exist in and of themselves, a movement that culminated in great medieval bestiaries that continue to exercise an influence, however subtle, on the way we conduct our studies of natural history today.
Probably not, we would say today, careful to avoid the cardinal sin of anthropomorphism and bent on giving each animal its proper due in creation, allowing it to stand on its own merits, trusting that each came to inhabit its corner of the world for some good reason. ) The natural history of our times, having been filtered through the growth of so-called hard science after the Middle Ages, is more self-critical, more aware of blind spots in human observation, more charged with a scientific spirit that doubtless will seem to future generations shot through with a mythopoeia all its own.
A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places by Gregory McNamee