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.
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