An Odd Bestiary
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986
Secondary title: "A compendium of instructive and entertaining descriptions of animals, culled from five centuries of travelers' accounts, natural histories, zoologies, etc. by authors famous and obscure, arranged as an abecedary / designed and illustrated by Alan James Robinson; text compiled and annotated by Laurie Block."
"Drawn from five centuries of travellers' accounts, An Odd Bestiary is the story of a transformation of vision; the story of how men came to view the animate world as a reality with its own unique history, integrity, and order. It begins in the Middle Ages, when men saw all living things as symbols, moral allegories, of the feudal hierarchy: God reigned supreme over angels, angels over the stars, the stars over men, men over Noah's Ark. There were people who ventured out and glimpsed what life was like beyond the stone walss surrounding the medieval community, and when those travellers returned home they brought word of an earth so large, so full of splendor, so remote from the experience of those at home, that their tales altered people's dreams. There were oceans and continents to be discovered. It has been said that zoology begins with travel." - Block, introduction
Originally published in a limited edition of 300 copies by Cheloniidae Press, 1982.
Black & white line drawings, annotated bibliography.
ISBN: 0-252-01353-0; LCCN: 86006941; LC: NE2012.R63A41986; DDC: 769.92/419
Last update December 6, 2021