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Hare (Animal) [Paperback]

Simon Carnell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

28 Jan 2010 Animal
Colourfully described by early natural historians as the fastest, hairiest, most lascivious, and most melancholy' of mammals, the hare is no less remarkable for its actual behaviour and capacities than for the intriguing ways in which it has been imagined and exploited throughout history. Hare examines how this animal has been described, symbolized and visually depicted, as well as utilized for its fur, flesh and exceptional speed. Tracking the hare from ancient Egypt, where a hieroglyph of the animal signified existence itself, to the serial hare works of artist Joseph Beuys, who once notoriously declared that I am not a human being, I am a hare', "Hare" finds its subject in many surprising places and forms: from Crucifixion scenes, Buddhist lore and Algonquin creation myths, to witch trials, treatises on logic, contemporary poetry and an art installation in a Dutch brothel. It is the principal subject of the first ever hunting treatise, king of all venery', for Renaissance theorists of the hunt; and it appears in the first known description of a still-life painting, in the first signed and dated picture of a single animal, and in early medicine, where it was credited with having the most curative properties of any beast. The first monograph on the subject for 35 years, and richly illustrated, "Hare" combines the most recent natural history with an eclectic account of the animal's symbolic values. "Hare" will be of interest to art historians and literary critics; to those for and opposed to hunting; and to both the general and the lagophile reader alike.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (28 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861894317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861894311
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The newest in Reaktion's wonderful series of richly illustrated books dedicated to individual animals, this is the first monograph in 35 years on one of the most fascinating of British animals. It considers the hare in history and art through the ages, explores its symbolic values, and provides the latest thinking on its behaviour, capabilities and physical nature.' --Country Life

'In Hare, Simon Carnell trawls through the art, legend, law and literature of this elusive quadruped that has had a more-than-fleeting presence in our culture . . . an intriguing survey' --New Statesman

'A quite fascinating book that seemed to be the epitome of this fabulous animal. A must read - and at what a bargain price.'
--Highland News

'I love the hare book' --Paul Muldoon

'The hunted, the subversive, the lascivious and the victim: the hare has been many things during its lengthy history and Simon Carnell's delightful pocket-sized book presents the story in an ingenious fashion. Natural history is blended with beautiful illustrations as the hare's place in myth, art, religion and the sporting sphere is delicately interwoven . . .' --The Field

'The newest in Reaktion's wonderful series of richly illustrated books dedicated to individual animals, this is the first monograph in 35 years on one of the most fascinating of British animals. It considers the hare in history and art through the ages, explores its symbolic values, and provides the latest thinking on its behaviour, capabilities and physical nature.' --Country Life

'In Hare, Simon Carnell trawls through the art, legend, law and literature of this elusive quadruped that has had a more-than-fleeting presence in our culture . . . an intriguing survey' --New Statesman

'A quite fascinating book that seemed to be the epitome of this fabulous animal. A must read - and at what a bargain price.' --Highland News

About the Author

Simon Carnell is a freelance writer, reviewer, translator and poet. He has reviewed for and published poems in many publications including the TLS, Sunday Times, Spectator, New Statesman, Guardian, London Review of Books, Poetry Review, Harvard Review and Modern Painters, and he is the author of Notes of Several Experiments (2003).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a ramble. 13 Nov 2010
By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Hare" is an account of to the myths, fables and art associated with, well, hares!

The book is split into five chapters; "The Natural and Unnatural History of the Hare" - which focuses more on the unnatural than the natural, "The Mythic Hare" - which examines the role and nature of Hare myths from around the world, "The Hunted Hare", "The Painted Hare" and "Hare Poetry", all of which are self explanatory. I think that it is fare to say that none of these chapters is really readable in isolation as many of the themes and ideas reappear throughout the book. These include themes of speed, cunning, remarkable breeding ability and the protection of Hares for the purposes of hunting by landed gentry.

There are some remarkable sections in this book - the most memorable being the accounts the punishments that were handed down for people found guilty of poaching Hares, or in some cases just touching one. That fact that these laws persisted into the 19th century is remarkable.

While it is clear that this is a meticulously researched book, I found it a rather difficult one as well. For much the book I felt that the real hare was absent from the narrative, and the chapter "The Painted Hare" read as much as a history of art styles as it was of a history of hares in art. This chapter was rich in references to art works, only some of which were shown, and many of those that were included where not visible when reading the related text.

I think that the key issues with this book are its structure, and possibly the lack of a very firm editorial hand. Splitting the book into only five chapters makes each one long, and I felt they tended to ramble, often covering a number of ideas that would have been worthy of a single shorter section.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book!!!! 4 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just loved reading the simple sweet story and the illustrations are awesome and capture not just the form of the Hare but the mystic essence of it. Would recommend this book for children to read and also for adults who love or collect objects containing hares!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hare book 19 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is one of a series published by reaktion Books and you cannot go wrong with any book from this series. They are lovely books full of history and art relating to the hare and I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Art History of the Hare 22 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
The heart of Hare is one of the best essays on the history of art that I've ever read. The chapter "Painted and Plastic Hare" is a superb critical essay by any standards. Carnell starts with the stylized hares of medieval European art, which can play a number of different roles, from moral emblem to naturalism to nonsense. He is especially good on the long tradition of realistic representations of hares, most of which descend from Albrecht Dürer's early 16th-century Young Hare, and include many western-European still lives where hares figure as game for the table. Such pictures are virtuoso technical achievements ("Dürer seems to have painted every hair in his subject's fur," says Carnell on 131), but they are not realism for realism's sake. In an age when only the wealthy were allowed to hunt hares, their presence in kitchen scenes can't help but be a social commentary. Carnell concludes his chapter with some very surreal and disturbing hares, in graphic and plastic arts, from the postwar and postmodern repertoire.
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