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.
About 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.