An Avian Miscellany
In this lushly illustrated volume, novelist and lifelong birdwatcher Graeme Gibson presents an extraordinary tribute to the eternal relationship between humans and birds, featuring a new introduction by Margaret Atwood.
Birds have always been the symbols of humankind's highest aspirations. As divine messengers, signifiers of our reach toward enlightenment, or avatars of glorious song and color, they have stirred our imaginations for generations. Whether the Christian dove, the Aztec Plumed Serpent, or Plato's vision of the human soul growing wings and feathers, religion and philosophy have selected birds as representatives of our better, spiritual selves.
With the passion of a birdwatcher and lover of words, Gibson collects the literary and artistic forms our affinity for birds have taken over the centuries. Birds appear again and again in mythology and folk tales, and in literature by writers as disparate as Ovid, Thomas Hardy, Kafka, Thoreau and T.S. Eliot. They've been omens, allegories, disguises and guides; they've been worshipped, eaten, feared and loved. Birds figure charmingly and tellingly in the work of such nature writers as Gilbert White, Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat and Barry Lopez, and feature in many of science's most famous case studies, notably the Galapagos finches who cemented Darwin's reputation. Birds are inextricable throughout our scholarly and creative pursuits.
Gorgeously illustrated, woven from centuries of human response to the delights of feathered fowl, The Bedside Book of Birds is for anyone who has a curiosity about birds, and for everyone who is intrigued by the artistic forms that humanity has created to represent its soul in flight.