Distributed for Reaktion Books
Attempts to chronicle the cockroach’s intellectual and emotional life have been made only within the last century when a scientist titled his essay on the cockroach "The Intellectual and Emotional World of the Cockroach", and artists as radically different as Franz Kafka and Don Marquis created equally memorable cockroach protagonists.
At least since Classical Greece, authors have brought cockroach characters into the foreground to speak for the weak and downtrodden, the outsiders, those forced to survive on the underside of dominant human cultures. Cockroaches have become the subjects of songs (La Cucaracha), have competed in "roachraces" and have even ended up in recipes. In this accessible, sympathetic and often humorous book, Marion Copeland examines the natural history, symbolism and cultural significance of this poorly understood and much-maligned insect.
"Copeland goes on to show how the cockroach features as an embodiment of the oppressed underclass in a remarkable array of avant-guarde urban works of the late 20th-century... one cannot help applauding the bravura of an author who begins her acknowledgements by saying that 'the cockroaches and I owe debts of gratitude to more of our fellow creatures than I will remember here"
1. A Living Fossil
2. What's in a Name?
3. Fellow Traveller
4. In the Mind of Man: Myth, Folklore and the Arts
5. Tales from the Underside
7. The Golden Cockroach
Appendix: 'La Cucaracha'