Fly

Overview

Few creatures are as universally despised as flies. Blamed for pestilence and plagues, they were publicly excommunicated from the medieval church. Beelzebub, “the lord of the flies,” was said to be the embodiment of evil, and, for centuries, flies were considered the result of spontaneous generation—the unnatural consequence of rotting meat.

Fly explores the history of this much-maligned creature and then turns to examine its newfound redemption through science. The secrets of ...

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Fly

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Overview

Few creatures are as universally despised as flies. Blamed for pestilence and plagues, they were publicly excommunicated from the medieval church. Beelzebub, “the lord of the flies,” was said to be the embodiment of evil, and, for centuries, flies were considered the result of spontaneous generation—the unnatural consequence of rotting meat.

Fly explores the history of this much-maligned creature and then turns to examine its newfound redemption through science. The secrets of the fly’s versatile powers of flight, Steven Connor reveals, are only beginning to be understood and appreciated. Its eyes and wings, for instance, have evolved so perfectly that they provide inspiration for some of today’s most daring technological and scientific innovations. And the humble fruit fly, Connor demonstrates, stands at the center of revolutionary advances in genetic research.

Connor delights in tracking his lowly subject through myth, literature, poetry, painting, film, and biology. Humans live in close and intimate quarters with flies, but Fly is the first book to give these common creatures their due.

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Editorial Reviews

The Independent
"Incisive and erudite."
British Journal of Entomology and Natural History
"Fly is a fascinating little volume, informative because of the imaginative breadth of material used to reflect mankind's attitude to the flies that have shared our lives for millennia. . . . The text is interspersed with fascinating illustrations. . . . This is a compact work of scholarship, well researched and well referenced, both from entomological and literary standpoints. I commend it to any reader whose view is broader than a microscope tube."
Science

"In Fly, Steven Connor undertakes the monumental task of acquainting a prejudiced public with the spectacular diversity of Diptera. The book is a tour de force of all manner of flies through both scientific and cultural lenses. . . . The illustrations are an unremitting delight--the author has done a fantastic job of hunting down images of all manner of flies in all manner of media. . . . Fly is a joy to read, and it will particularly appeal to entomologists who have a stake in correcting misperceptions about one of the largest orders of animals."--Science

— May Berenbaum

British Journal of Entomology and Natural History - Rob Parker
"A fascinating little volume, informative because of the imaginative breadth of material use to reflect mankind's attitude to the flies that have shard our lives for millennia. . . . Humanists, dramatists and artists through the centuries are quoted and illustrated in a most readable style that follow strands that sometimes track scientific logic, or other times, simply intrigue the reader. . . . This is a compact work of scholarship, well researched and well referenced, both from entomological and literary standpoints. I commend it to any reader whose view is broader than a microscope tube."
Science - May Berenbaum
 "In Fly, Steven Connor undertakes the monumental task of acquainting a prejudiced public with the spectacular diversity of Diptera. The book is a tour de force of all manner of flies through both scientific and cultural lenses. . . . The illustrations are an unremitting delight—the author has done a fantastic job of hunting down images of all manner of flies in all manner of media. . . . Fly is a joy to read, and it will particularly appeal to entomologists who have a stake in correcting misperceptions about one of the largest orders of animals."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861892942
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Series: Animal Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Connor is professor of modern literature and theory in the School of Literature and Humanities at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of many books, including The English Novel in History, James Joyce, and The Book of Skin.

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Table of Contents

1. Fly Familiar
2. Musca Maledicta
3. Sticky Fun
4. Orders of Magnitude
5. Fly Wars
6. Mutable Fly
7. Fly Leaves
 
Timeline
References
Bibliography
Associations and Websites
Photo Acknowledgements
Index

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