The Moon

Overview

Packed with illustrations, this lively and entertaining volume covers all aspects of the moon, from mythic and magical to astrologcial and scientific.

Maryam Sachs pays tribute to moon goddesses as well as NASA landings, examining symbolism, lunar calendars, and the gender of the moon. Her witty text includes Persian court poetry, Shakespearean verse, and words of wisdom from Japanese tradition. Illustrated with Renaissance frescoes, Native American masks, Chinese architecture, ...

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Overview

Packed with illustrations, this lively and entertaining volume covers all aspects of the moon, from mythic and magical to astrologcial and scientific.

Maryam Sachs pays tribute to moon goddesses as well as NASA landings, examining symbolism, lunar calendars, and the gender of the moon. Her witty text includes Persian court poetry, Shakespearean verse, and words of wisdom from Japanese tradition. Illustrated with Renaissance frescoes, Native American masks, Chinese architecture, nature photography, and icons of popular culture, The Moon is an elegant and evocative treasury.

Other Details: 100 illustrations, 90 in full color 208 pages 5 1/2 x 5 1/2" Published 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A compendium of information, legends, lore, superstition, and other approaches to understanding Earth's natural satellite. Color photographs and reproductions and quotations from literature comprise the core of the treatment, with the text filling in interesting bits. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789203410
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.31 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

I must repeat that the distance between the Earth and its satellite is really not very great and hardly worthy of concern to serious minds. I therefore believe it is not too bold of me to predict that there will soon exist a series of projectiles providing comfortable transportation between the Earth and the Moon. There will be no risk of shocks, jolts, or derailing, and we will reach our destination rapidly, directly, and without fatigue. . . . Twenty years from now, half the population of the Earth will have visited the Moon! —Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon

This optimistic statement was made by a character in the novel, one of the three passengers in the "bullet train" that undertook the first voyage to the Moon—only to miss its mark and end up as a lunar satellite. When his book was published in 1865, such a voyage was utter fantasy. Even picture-book hero Tintin, who dreamed of traveling to the Moon in Objective Moon and actually did so in They Walked on the Moon, was still some fifteen years ahead of history. The fact is that the idea of going to the Moon has always fascinated the human animal. As early as the second century, the Greek poet Lucianus of Samosata described the saga of a ship swept up to the Moon by a storm. In 1656, in The Other World, Cyrano de Bergerac relates how an airship, propelled by the evaporation of dew, transports him to a Moon that turns out to be quite similar to Earth. As for Hans Pfaall of Rotterdam, he reached the Moon in nineteen days by means of a balloon propelled by the pen of Edgar Allan Poe.

Now that this dream voyage has become reality, it is apparent that dreaming of going to the Moon and actually goingthere are two quite different things. One might even add that humanity is now divided into two groups: on the one hand, the immense majority of people whose relationship with the Moon is merely imaginary, and on the other hand, the few privileged individuals who have actually set foot on the Moon.

The emotional impact of the adventure has perhaps been overshadowed by the technological exploits involved, which are indeed fantastic. However, astronauts who have seen the Earth from the viewpoint of the Moon as a mere grain of dust in the universe must have undergone an emotionally shattering experience. On their return to Earth, these men must have had fascinating things to say; they may even have sketched amazing landscapes; and they certainly must have written letters describing their impressions. But where is the record of their emotional reactions? Dazzled and impressed by technological data, the press limited its "human interest" reports to anecdotes about the freedom of weightlessness, for example. This is why I believe it is important to highlight the relationship between the Moon and humankind and their adventures throughout all ages and cultures. It is obviously too vast a subject for a single volume. I have simply focused on the aspects that seem to me particularly mysterious and intriguing.

The newspaper article that most impressed me as a child was headlined: man on the moon. I was only eight years old at the time, but I can still see that paper on my parents' bed table. For children it was impossible to separate reality from fairytale in that fabulous event; to an eight-year-old, the boundary between imagination and reality is always rather vague, and the historical conquest of the Moon is easily confused in head and heart with all those charming tales of climbing to the Moon on a ladder. And to a child, after all, there is little difference between a parent telling a bedtime story and an astronaut telling an eyewitness story from the Moon.

At the turn of the millennium, humankind's grasp is greater, and Shakespeare's "silver bow new-bent in heaven" is slated for use as a fueling station and a base for rocket expeditions to Mars. What an imaginative exploitation of ice and water! As for me, I find that, despite its "conquest" by the Earth, the Moon is more mysterious than ever.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Moon Facts

In Nature

Symbolism

The Calendar

The Sex of the Moon

Magic

The Moon in Astrology

Index

Author Biography: Born in Iran, raised in Europe, educated in America, and residing in London with her husband and three children, Maryam Sachs is at ease in all cultures. Her first book, The Kiss, was published in several languages.

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