Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2013. Octavo, paperback, colour and black and white photographs, illustrations.
A groundbreaking examination of the interactions between humans and animals in New Zealand's arts and literature, popular culture, historiography, media and everyday life. Structured in four parts, the Book of Beasts touches on topics as diverse as moa-hunting and the SPCA, pest-control and pet-keeping, whaling and whale-watching; on species ranging from sheep to sperm whales and from pekepeka to possums; and on the works of authors and artists as various as Samuel Butler and Witi Ihimaera, Lady Mary Anne Barker and Janet Frame. In examining through literature, art and culture the ways New Zealanders use and abuse, shape and are shaped by, glorify and co-opt, and describe and imagine animals, the authors tell us a great deal about New Zealand's society and cultural identity. This is an engaging, original and scholarly rigorous book of cultural criticism and a thoughtful addition to New Zealand literature.
Price: $50.00 AU