Fishes, Crayfishes and Crabs: Louis Renard's Natural History of the Rarest Curiosities of the Seas of the Indies

Fishes, Crayfishes and Crabs: Louis Renard's Natural History of the Rarest Curiosities of the Seas of the Indies

by Louis Renard
     
 

First published in 1719 and exceptional in its day for its 460 brilliantly colored copper engravings, Louis Renard's treatise on the marine life of the East Indies was dismissed in the 19th and 20th centuries because of its apparent embellishment, exaggeration, and even falsification. Ichthyologist Theodore W. Pietsch here reexamines this classic work and its

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Overview

First published in 1719 and exceptional in its day for its 460 brilliantly colored copper engravings, Louis Renard's treatise on the marine life of the East Indies was dismissed in the 19th and 20th centuries because of its apparent embellishment, exaggeration, and even falsification. Ichthyologist Theodore W. Pietsch here reexamines this classic work and its almost surrealistic renderings and discovers a work of considerable scientific and historical interest.

In addition to its importance as one of the rarest natural history books known -- and one of the very few pre-Linnaean works on marine organisms to be published in color -- Renard's book provides a description of the marine fauna of the East Indies that can be interpreted in light of modern scholarship.In Fishes, Crayfishes, and Crabs, Pietsch places Renard's original book fully in its historical and scientific context. He supplies a facsimile of the original text, a full translation with extensive historical notes, and 100 extraordinary color plates with their legends translated and annotated. Pietsch also includes an examination of Renard's life and how he came to write his remarkable book along with a detailed taxonomic chart that identifies most of Renard's illustrated specimens.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A lovely, scholarly edition of Renard's Poissons, ecrevisses et crabes...que l'on trouve autour des isles Moluques (1st edition, 1719; 2nd edition, 1754), drawing attention equally to its aesthetic, historical, and scientific merit. Volume 1 is divided into five chapters: the circumstances surrounding the production of Renard's work and his social and cultural milieu; a detailed description of the three editions of the book; a description and interpretation of the multiple sets of drawings that form the manuscript sources; an annotated English translation of the original French text of the second edition; and concluding remarks and reference materials. Volume 2 comprises a facsimile of the second edition, including a reproduction of all 100 color plates, with an annotated translation of the plate legends, plus an index to both volumes. Slipcased. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801847905
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Series:
Foundations of Natural History Series
Edition description:
SLIPCASED
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
9.91(w) x 12.59(h) x 1.92(d)

Meet the Author

Theodore W. Pietsch is a professor in the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington, and author of Frogfishes of the World.

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