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From sixteenth-century cabinets of wonders to contemporary animal art, The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Culture of Longing examines the cultural and poetic history of preserving animals in lively postures. But why would anyone want to preserve an animal, and what is this animal-thing now? The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Culture of Longing suggests that taxidermy is entwined with the enduring human longing to find meaning with and within the natural world.
By drawing out the longings at the heart of taxidermy – the longing for wonder, beauty, spectacle, order, narrative, allegory, and remembrance – The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Culture of Longing explores the animal spectacles desired by particular communities, human assumptions of superiority, the yearnings for hidden truths within animal form, and the loneliness and longing that haunt our strange human existence, being both within and apart from nature.