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Here Be Dragons:
A Fantastic Bestiary
Ariane & Christian Delacampagne

Hardcover | 2003 | $69.95 | £58.95 | ISBN: 9780691116891
200 pp. | 9 1/4 x 11 3/4 | 186 color plates.
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Reviews | Table of Contents

Sphinxes, hydras, chimeras, dragons, unicorns, griffins, sirens, and centaurs--fantastic animals can be found in works from Greek vases to paintings by Bosch, Goya, and Picasso, from folk art to comic strips, advertising, and Hollywood movies. Here Be Dragons is a lavishly illustrated compendium of the marvelous menagerie of imaginary animals that humans have conjured up over the ages. Ariane and Christian Delacampagne take us on a visually and intellectually riveting journey through five thousand years of art, examining the symbolic meanings of such creatures and what they say about the unconscious life of the human mind.

In the Middle Ages, "bestiary" referred to an edifying poem, in Latin or French verse, in which the moral characteristics of real or imaginary animals were highlighted. With the passing of time, this once-flourishing genre disappeared. We have ceased to equate animals that can be observed with those we only dream of, but neither science nor mass culture has managed to chase away imaginary beasts. Such creatures continue to haunt us, just as they haunted our ancestors.

In the first book to explore this subject with such cross-cultural and chronological range, the Delacampagnes identify five basic structures (unicorn, human-headed animal, animal-headed human, winged quadruped, and dragon) whose stories they relate from prehistory to the present day. They also provide fascinating sociological and psychoanalytical insight into the processes through which artists have created these astonishing animals and how they have been transmitted from culture to culture.

Contrary to what people once believed, the fantastic exists only in the mind. And yet, as Here Be Dragons shows us, it is one of the mind's most sophisticated, mysterious, and inspiring creations.


"This lovely presentation of dragons and other imaginary beasts found in art all over the world makes it clear that humans have an almost innate facility for creating a pretend nature. . . . [A] beautiful book."--Toronto Globe and Mail


"The Delacampagnes' argument is crisp, lucid, economical, and persuasive. Their conceptualization and interpretation of the subject is, so far as I am aware, new. I know of no work that both presents such an extensive range of imagery and offers a comprehensive analysis of this kind."--Arthur Goldhammer, Harvard University

Table of Contents:

Introduction 7
CHAPTER ONE: Symbols, Dreams, Religions 17
CHAPTER TWO: Inventing a Bestiary 45
CHAPTER THREE: Unicorns and Human Hybrids 75
CHAPTER FOUR: Flying Quadrupeds and Dragons 113
CHAPTER FIVE: Influences or Coincidences? 143
CHAPTER SIX: The Fantastic Today 175
Conclusion 191
Bibliography 195
Acknowledgments 197
Index 198
Photograghy Credits 200

Subject Areas:

Imaginary Siren
Imaginary Siren
Click to Enlarge

Dragons, Marco Polo's <i>Book of Marvel</i>, c.1410
Dragons, Marco
Polo's Book of
, c.1410
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Griffin holding a
stag head in its beak
Click to Enlarge

The Grand'Goule
The Grand'Goule
Click to Enlarge

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 Hardcover : $69.95 ISBN: 9780691116891

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 Hardcover  £58.95 ISBN: 9780691116891

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File created: 7/11/2017

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