[UCP Books]: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is one that Pliny would have envied, Darwin applauded, and Borges relished. It celebrates the playful imagination of the universe, capable of dreaming up the zebrafish and the yeti crab; it also celebrates our delight in reading in claws and feathers lessons about our own miraculous self. In these days of doom and gloom, I can think of nothing more rejoicing than Caspar Henderson’s magical book.”

Alberto Manguel, author of The Library at Night

 The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

A 21st Century Bestiary

Caspar Henderson

Publication date: April 29, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-04470-5 • Cloth $29.00

The thorny devil. The blackfin sorcerer. The yeti crab, which uses its furry claws to farm the bacteria on which it feeds. Drawing on a tradition begun by medieval bestiaries and carried on in Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, Caspar Henderson takes twenty-seven extraordinary animals—one for each letter of the alphabet and two for the letter “x”—as the starting point for a series of meditations in his Book of Barely Imagined Beings. As with the medieval bestiary, the descriptions in Henderson’s modern-day menagerie prompt reflections about mankind. But whereas medieval bestiaries are based on folklore and myth, the creatures that abound in Henderson’s book—from the axolotl to the zebrafish—are, with one exception, very much with us, albeit sometimes in depleted numbers. And though his vision of what the “Age of Man” has wrought on our planet is sometimes bleak, his sense of wonder at the staggering beauty and ingenuity of evolution makes the book a joyful read.
A powerful combination of cutting-edge natural history and philosophical meditation, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an inspiring celebration of the variety of life in a time of crisis and change.  
Entries include:
Axolotl, Barrel Sponge, Crown of Thorns Starfish, Dolphin, Eel, Goblin Shark, Honey Badger, Japanese Macaque, Leatherback, Octopus, Puffer Fish, Quetzalcoatlus, Sea Butterfly, Thorny Devil, Venus’s Girdle, Waterbear, Xenoglaux, Yeti Crab, and more!
Caspar Henderson is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Independent, and New Scientist. He lives in Oxford.
Please contact Melinda Kennedy at 773-702-2945 or mkennedy1@press.uchicago.edu for more information.



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