Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some animals

From a recent New York Review of Books article about what a normal guy Kafka really was. In other words, contrary to the mythology, he was just another bourgeoisie in a bowler. And yet, and yet…note the wolf of a hound by his side in this studio portrait. The dog has moved, blurring slightly, and has become spectral. With one ear held down by the young Franz, it looks like his Mitteleuropish familiar.
This genus Nycticebus slow loris, and the pichiciago, a five-inch-long armadillo of Argentina, below, were found in Animals of the World, by William Bridges, illustrations by Mary Baker, published ("Lithographed in the United States of America" actually) in 1948. I found the book on a stoop this evening. I am not familiar with many of the animals, all mammals, in this book, and I wonder how many are no longer with us.
Prefaces the author: "'Conservation' is a new and important word that we are hearing more and more often; it is, indeed, the most important word in our language. For it has come to mean the saving, and the rebuilding, and the wise usage, of the natural world on which our very lives depend." This, 7 years before Peterson & Fisher's Wild America, 11 years before Matthiessen's eulogy Wildlife in America, and 14 years before Silent Spring.
Turnerian sky from Congress & Columbia this evening.

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