The Magic Zoo: The Natural History of Fabulous Animals

Peter Costello

New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979

"I should like to make clear, at the very beginning of this book, just exactly what I mean by 'magic' in the title. ... By magic I mean the other realm of meaning which lies between man and nature, that world of mystery and enchantment that we first recognize as children in fairy tales. ... Such creatures as the unicorn are not purposeless fantasies. They all have some special meaning. They are all cultural artefacts, as much so as the flint knife of the early shaman, or the space-probe of the modern scientist. They are 'man-made' in a very special sense. ... The natural history of these magical creatures -- and I emphasise that this book is about their natural history only -- is bound up with man's experience of animals, wild and domestic, through the centuries. In the...first part of this book, I shall try and outline man's changing relationship with the animals around him. ... In the second part of the book I have collected together some of the fabulous animals of Western man over a long period of time. ... Though most of this book deals with the natural history of fabulous beasts, the last part takes a brief look at the magical dimensions of man's experience and knowledge of these animals." - Costello

222 pp., 4 leaves of plates, illustrations, bliography, index.

Language: English

ISBN: 0-312-50421-7; LC: GR825.C53


Last update December 6, 2021