DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

 Lizard by Boria Sax (London: Reaktion Books, expected October 2017)


Lizards stimulate the human imagination, despite generally being small, soundless and hidden from sight in burrows, treetops or crevices. They can blend into a vast range of environments, from rocky coasts to deserts and rainforests. Their fluid motion can make us think of water, while their curvilinear forms suggest vegetation. Their stillness appears deathlike, while their sudden arousal is like resurrection.

Lizards are at once overhyped and underappreciated. Our storybooks are full of lizards, but we usually call them something else – dragons, serpents or monsters. Our tales vastly increase their size, bestow wings upon them, make them exhale flame and endow them with magical powers.

This illuminating book demonstrates how the story of lizards is interwoven with the history of the human imagination. Boria Sax describes the diversity of lizards and traces their representation in many cultures, including those of pre-conquest Australia, the Quiché Maya, Mughal India, China, Central Africa, Europe and America. Filled with beguiling images, Lizard is essential reading for natural history enthusiasts, students of animal studies and the many thousands of people who keep lizards as pets.


"Lizard (2017) and Dinomania (2018) present author/researcher Boria Sax at his multidisciplinary best: mixing and relating biology, botany, paleontology, anthropology, biography, history, mythology, art history, popular culture and more, into coherent wholes. The skillful way he interweaves these various themes reminds this reviewer of the pictures and models of DNA strands as the complexity of the finished product emerges."

Shelby Shapiro, The Independent Scholar, vol. 7 (spring 2020).
"In this erudite, wide-ranging and engaged work, Boria Sax explores the cultural flesh that has been wrapped around the fossilized bones of these iconic creatures. He asks, "What is a dinosaur?" and shows that the answer is not merely a scientific one but is intimately linked to wider cultural trends and concerns. Extinct they might be, but Sax reveals how dinosaurs live on among us." - Garry Marvin, Professor of Human-Animal Studies, University of Roehampton, London, and author of Wolf 
"This colorful and lavishly illustrated book, while providing considerable information on the biology of lizards, is enriched with many connections to human culture—its art, religious practices, folklore, mythology, astrology, literature, history—and comparisons between reptile and human characteristics and behavior." The American Biology Teacher, vol. 80, issue 9 


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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.