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Monsters: A Bestiary of Devils, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Magical Creatures Paperback – 25 Aug 2010


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Review

" . . . a unique collection of art that should be on every historian of horror's shelf. Whether you like to read or just enjoy a great picture book, "Monsters" provides a healthy dose of each to satisfy your curiosity. . . Hard to put down and hard to get out of your head.....history holds some captivating monsters, and so does Christopher Dell's collection."

." . . without doubt one of the best (if not the best) bestiary-style publications that has ever hit the book-shelves. . ."

"The selection of illustrations almost can't be topped . . . Readers will find themselves poring through this book to read about these similarities and to take in the wonderful illustrations . . . This intense anthology would make an excellent addition to any research library. It also would be an interesting novelty coffee-table book."

"This is the big book of monsters for little kids and big kids and everyone in between. It's a treasure-trove of fantastic art showing fantastic creatures from all around the world and from all cultures-from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China all the way up to "Frankenstein", Big Foot, and Pablo Picasso."

." . . with it's fascinating variety and inclusion of fantastically beautiful artwork Monsters should be a must have for anyone serious bout the subject matter. It would also make a solid, and surely treasured, introduction to the subject matter for those looking for a place to start."

"It is the perfect gift for the monster obsessed child, or bizarre adult in your life. You know you have one."

"This is a wonderful book for someone wanting to learn more about a lot of monsters. If you are looking for something more in-depth, it is an excellent starting point. . . The illustrations will entrance you, and the information will spur you to check the list of "further reading" material and websites."

From the Back Cover

MYTHOLOGY / ART Every culture on earth has its own monsters. Their stories, their curious habits and diets, and the ways in which they can be warded off create a picture of imaginations running wild. But what does our creation of monsters say about humankind? Why do we find one-eyed giants both in Japan and ancient Greece, or the same dragons in Europe and China? Hindu legends abound with creatures that are half man, half beast. Philosopher and naturalist Pliny the elder described the monstrous races that lurked on the edges of Roman civilization. Even modern imagination is populated by monstrous beings such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. This universal fascination with monsters is as old as humanity and continues to grow with each generation. Why? Because monsters respond to a sense of the supernatural that lies deep within us. The battle between order and chaos, good and evil, is made visible through gods and monsters. Introducing a bestiary of bizarre creatures from the furthest reaches of artists' imaginations, this book offers a unique visual history of the human mind through a collection of fantastical monsters drawn from all over the world--from the earliest prehistoric depictions to the classical world, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, up to the first glimmer of modern science and Romantic horror. From myth to manga, from dreams to nightmares, Christopher Dell's mythic-religious study of monsters shows them to be essential companions to the gods as well as the necessary complement to the perfect human archetype of the hero. CHRISTOPHER DELL holds a degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute, London. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Monsters 23 Jan. 2011
By Rebecca L. Elson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Folks like me, and by like me I mean always curious to learn a little bit about everything, are bound to have quite the collection of books about mythological creatures, magical creatures, etc. Some personal favorites of mine are A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic, and the single creature specific The Unicorn. (This was the book that converted me into a unicorn fan. Prior to this book I may have been the only little girl to have had zero interest in unicorns. Once I read stories about unicorns killing people, I warmed up to the little fellows.) Those favorites, on top of shelves full of others, means that I'm not really in the market for a new collection about mythological creatures. That changed when I received a copy of "Monsters: A Bestiary of Devils, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Magical Creatures" by Christopher Dell from Inner Traditions.

As per usual, Inner Traditions has found an inspired route towards the subject matter. Much the way they had The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind, a professor of medieval literature, take on the subject matter of the paranormal, this time around they have Christopher Dell, who holds a degree in art history, turn his eye towards monsters of myth. That art history degree makes "Monsters" one of the most beautifully illustrated books on the subject matter in my possession. Thick, glossy pages showcase close to 200 full color illustrations from artists of varying time and place.

Anyone with an interest in the subject matter is going to be familiar with many of the creatures discussed in "Monsters", and the information on the individual subjects is fairly light, but the range of monsters covered is wide and varying. Usual suspects like dragons, water monsters, and sirens are discussed, but in the same book you'll also find American classics like the Pennsylvanian squonk and the hoax hodag.

I also appreciated the inclusion of Asian culture, a perspective that is a little light in some other books I own. Dell covers oriental dragons (verses western dragons), the kappa, and The Night Parade of 100 Demons (A subject I was entirely unfamiliar with and found the related "gathering of one hundred supernatural tales" even more intriguing.). The inclusion of Asia also means that Asian art features heavily in the book, which since I like it, I find to be a very good thing.

Christopher Dell's "Monsters" doesn't reinvent or redesign the mythical creature overview book format; however with it's fascinating variety and inclusion of fantastically beautiful artwork "Monsters" should be a must have for anyone serious about the subject matter. It would also make a solid, and surely treasured, introduction to the subject matter for those looking for a place to start.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Detail 1 Feb. 2012
By Robert Boze - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not much in the way of descriptions or explainations of magical creatures is provided. Basically it amounts to a lot of pictures and some very general comments on why mankind "created" them. Not at all what I was looking for which was a definition and ranking of power for various creatures. Finally, if Vampires and Werewolves are covered, I must have completely missed them, along with several other common creatures. Did not add anything to my knowledge of creatures and not worth the money in my opinion.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about monsters of legends and myth!! 6 Feb. 2014
By Danny R. Steglich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great monster source about beasts and creatures from legends, history, myths and the present time. It's loaded with pictures and I like the way the author, Christopher Dell organizes and categorizes these monsters. This book is a great addition to any monster enthusiast's library.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 26 Dec. 2012
By stephanie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given as a Christmas gift today. Recipient couldn't put it down.
Had to remind her that she had other gifts to open!
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my kids will love this 8 Dec. 2010
By S. M. Schoenborn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome pictures, colorful pages, rich with unspeakable scary monsters! An X mas gift all our monster loving kids will love.
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