By Peter Young
The sleek winged type of the swan has encouraged artworks from fairy stories to ballets, and its profile is well-known instantly via even the main cursory of poultry admirers. Now the most recent addition to Reaktion’s acclaimed Animal sequence examines the interesting tale in the back of this based bird.
The traditional heritage of the swan is unusually complicated, as Peter younger finds, delving into the bird’s habitat and feeding behavior, the physiological info of the 8 surviving species and several other extinct ones, the bird’s energy and patience, and the formation flying that permits them to preserve power and fly nice distances with pace. Swan offers equivalent therapy to the lengthy and wealthy position of the swan in human tradition, from the Greek fantasy of Leda and the Swan to the bird’s portrayal in sculpture, furnishings, and model identify emblems. younger additionally info the demanding situations dealing with conservation efforts to guard swans from human intake and fabric goods.
An engrossing account, Swan may be a welcome boost to the bookshelf of all who respect this pretty chook.
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Extra info for Swan (Animal)
The Ugly Duckling’ became ‘La Malabela Anasido’ and ‘Swan’s Nest’ was rendered as ‘Cigna Nestro’, cign derived from Romance languages being the root word in Esperanto. The ﬁrst edition, 1926, was posthumous. The outstanding example of a person ‘becoming’ a swan is the Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881–1931).
Auden remarks: Fish in the unruffled lakes The swarming colours wear, Swans in the winter air A white perfection have. Praising ‘the beauteous Lady Would-be’ to the magniﬁco Volpone in Ben Jonson’s play Volpone (1606), his parasite Mosca describes her as 57 A wench O’the ﬁrst year! A beauty ripe as harvest! 28 When Jonson was writing, a white complexion was fashionable. ’ Physical attributes of the bird are well caught in Patricia Elliott’s novel for children Ambergate (2005). Leah, half girl and half swan, has ‘the smooth slide of feathers .
The black swan in particular has a sinister connotation. In Anthem for St Cecilia’s Day, dedicated to Benjamin Britten and set to music by him as Hymn to St Cecilia (1942), W. H. Auden saw an association with death: In a garden shady this holy lady With reverent cadence and subtle psalm, Like a black swan as death came on Poured forth her song in perfect calm. Swan on a Black Sea was a phrase that occurred in the CumminsWillett scripts, a study in automatic writing, published in a 59 Adam van Vianen (1568–1627), a Utrecht silversmith, created this ewer in the early 17th century.