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In this wonderfully varied anthology, the Canadian writer and birdwatcher Graeme Gibson made his selection of the most interesting writing on birds from all cultures and times, and matched it with an inspired selection os exquisite illustrations, mixing the best bird artists, including Audulbon, Morris and Gould, with twentieth-century Inuit paintings and some of the earliest known representations of birds in art.
His book is divided into sections, for which he has provided succint introductions, and covers a wide range of topics from creation myths, folk and fairy tales, through naturalists' observations, symbolism and auspices, to medicine, murder, criminal curiosity, ending with birds as images of the human soul. The many writers represented include naturalists like Laurens Van der Post and Peter Matthiessen, classical authors such as Shakspeare, Coleridge and Poe, and contemporary writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Hughes, Italo Calvino and Bruce Chatwin.
Graeme Gibson is the acclaimed author of Communion, Perpetual Motion, and Gentleman Death. He is a past president of PEN Canada and the recipient of both the Harbourfront Festival Prize and the Toronto Arts Award, and is a member of the Order of Canada. He lives in Toronto with writer Margaret Atwood.