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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book of the Week: Illustrations and Fringe Science?

While doing some research for a report, we came across a delightful book entitled Natural History of the Animal Kingdom for the Use of Young People (1889), by W.F. Kirby. The work is meant to be an introduction to the animal kingdom for adolescents, as the title suggests, and presents the structure of the animal kingdom, and many particulars of the classes within it, alongside some absolutely brilliant illustrations. While the text itself is quaint in the way it presents and describes various aspects of the animal kingdom, it was, as is so often the case, the illustrations that really sucked us in. We believe they represent some of the most colorful and vivid in BHL.

The work is translated by Kirby from the original German - the work of Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert. Schubert, a German physician and naturalist, lived from 1780-1860, and was known particularly for his lectures on Fringe Science, including animal magnetism, clairvoyance, and dreams. His book, The Symbolism of Dreams, was one of the most famous of its time and influenced such noteworthy individuals as E.T.A. Hoffmann and Sigmund Freud.

So, with that little nugget of information in the back of your mind, take a thirty second break from your day to enjoy these lovely illustrations, courtesy of the BHL! And remember, these are just a few of the illustrations that can be found in this book. Once you're done here, hop on over to BHL and see the rest!








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