By Gregory McNamee
Following the version of the medieval Latin bestiaries, Gregory McNamee has written a booklet instantaneously 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 convey their average lives and histories vividly to the web page.
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Additional info for A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places
Page ii BOOKS BY GREGORY McNAMEE NONFICTION A Desert Bestiary In the Presence of Wolves (with Art Wolfe) Gila: The Life and Death of an American River The Return of Richard Nixon FICTION Christ on the Mount of Olives POETRY Inconstant History: Poems and Translations Philoktetes: A Verse Translation COLLECTIONS The Sierra Club Desert Reader: A Literary Companion Named in Stone and Sky: An Arizona Anthology Living in Words: Interviews from The Bloomsbury Review Resist Much, Obey Little: Some Notes on Edward Abbey (with James R.
What, then, is all the fuss about? For whatever reason, people seem to love a good scare. If this were not a well-known truth, Hollywood would not pump out endless Freddy Krueger movies, and the major news media would not fall into a feeding frenzy whenever rain falls on the Midwest or a strong wind rises off the coast of Florida. And our scares have changed. A century ago, psychiatrist G. Stanley Hall surveyed some 2,000 subjects nationwide about Page 17 their fears. The leading bugaboo, he found, was lightning and thunder, followed in order by reptiles, strangers and darkness, fire, domestic animals, disease, wild animals, ghosts, and lesser frights.
Africanized bees are only a small part of that story, a story of the destruction we have wrought upon our- Page 19 selves. Only when the natural world begins to fight back will we know how frightened we should really be. S. Haldane, asked to state his view of nature after a long career studying it. Twenty years ago, I recalled his remark while sitting alongside an ancient roadcut in the arid mountains of southern Italy, watching dung beetles at their work. As they made ball bearings of little pieces of cowpie, I thought, yes, wherever you go in the desert, you will find beetles of the most wondrous description, and in numbers that suggest divine favor.
A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places by Gregory McNamee