Sharks in the Arts is the most thorough exploration to-date of the many ways in which a wild creature has been absorbed, reimagined and represented across the ages in all of the major art forms. It comprises the work of four international experts currently working in England, the U.S.A., Taiwan and Australia on various aspects of cultural history. They consider not only how the identity of sharks in the natural environment became incorporated into a cultural environment but also how sharks came to be considered the most feared creatures in the open oceans as a consequence of this incorporation. Yet sharks are especially important in helping to maintain a balance that is essential to the health of the oceans.
Sharks in the Arts begins with a treatment of the four sharks at the top of global shark attack file from scientific, economic and environmental perspectives. Subsequent chapters engage with cultural representations of sharks in poetry, drama, art, and advertising, in novels, screenplay adaptations and films. Through an exploration of the ways in which sharks have been represented in human culture through the centuries, Sharks in the Arts alerts the global community to the importance of sharks as a common cultural heritage. It aims to change perceptions of sharks so that they can become more revered than feared.
The authors of Sharks in the Arts argue that the conscious cultural representation of sharks in negative and positive ways impacts on the kinds of decisions that are made about real sharks in the wild, and that an increased understanding of sharks should lead to the development of better strategies for shark and human interactions. Sharks in the Arts will be of great interest to researchers and students of the Environmental Humanities, Cultural History and the Arts. It is also excellent supplementary reading for courses in Zoology and Marine Science.
1. Toothsome Fishy Flesh Eaters
2. Drama Shark
3. Poetry in the Ocean
4. Sharks in Art
5. The Advertising Shark
6. Movie Shark
Vivienne Westbrook is an Associate Professor of Renaissance Literature at National Taiwan University, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia, WA. Barbara Beall is Professor Emerita of Art History at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Shaun Collin is a Professor of Neuroecology and Director of the Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, WA. Mark Nicholls is a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge, UK. He currently serves as Librarian, Tutor and Supervisor in British History, and was President of the College from 2007 to 2011.
"Sharks in the Arts is a heroic attempt to stop – or at least slow – the wanton destruction of one of our planet's most remarkable species. A key to saving these astonishing creatures, the authors argue, is to understand the ways in which they have been fashioned in literature, painting, and above all movies into a terrifying symbol of menace. This book is an example of ecocriticism at its most engaged and urgent."
– Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University, USA