Here Be Dragons: A Fantastic Bestiary by Ariane DelacampagneHere Be Dragons: A Fantastic Bestiary by Ariane Delacampagne

Here Be Dragons: A Fantastic Bestiary

byAriane Delacampagne

Hardcover | October 12, 2003

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Sphinxes, hydras, chimeras, dragons, unicorns, griffins, sirens, and centaurs--fantastic animals can be found in works from Greek vases to paintings by Bosch, Goya, and Picasso, from folk art to comic strips, advertising, and Hollywood movies.Here Be Dragonsis a lavishly illustrated compendium of the marvelous menagerie of imaginary animals that humans have conjured up over the ages. Ariane and Christian Delacampagne take us on a visually and intellectually riveting journey through five thousand years of art, examining the symbolic meanings of such creatures and what they say about the unconscious life of the human mind.


In the Middle Ages, "bestiary" referred to an edifying poem, in Latin or French verse, in which the moral characteristics of real or imaginary animals were highlighted. With the passing of time, this once-flourishing genre disappeared. We have ceased to equate animals that can be observed with those we only dream of, but neither science nor mass culture has managed to chase away imaginary beasts. Such creatures continue to haunt us, just as they haunted our ancestors.


In the first book to explore this subject with such cross-cultural and chronological range, the Delacampagnes identify five basic structures (unicorn, human-headed animal, animal-headed human, winged quadruped, and dragon) whose stories they relate from prehistory to the present day. They also provide fascinating sociological and psychoanalytical insight into the processes through which artists have created these astonishing animals and how they have been transmitted from culture to culture.


Contrary to what people once believed, the fantastic exists only in the mind. And yet, asHere Be Dragonsshows us, it is one of the mind's most sophisticated, mysterious, and inspiring creations.

Christian Delacampagneis Professor of Twentieth-Century French Literature at The Johns Hopkins University. His books includeA History of Philosophy in the Twentieth CenturyandOutsiders, fous, naïfs et voyants dans la peinture moderne: 1880-1960.Ariane Delacampagneis an independent translator and photographer.
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Title:Here Be Dragons: A Fantastic BestiaryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 11.75 × 9.25 × 0.1 inPublished:October 12, 2003Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:069111689X

ISBN - 13:9780691116891

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7

CHAPTER ONE: Symbols, Dreams, Religions 17

CHAPTER TWO: Inventing a Bestiary 45

CHAPTER THREE: Unicorns and Human Hybrids 75

CHAPTER FOUR: Flying Quadrupeds and Dragons 113

CHAPTER FIVE: Influences or Coincidences? 143

CHAPTER SIX: The Fantastic Today 175

Conclusion 191

Bibliography 195

Acknowledgments 197

Index 198

Photograghy Credits 200

Editorial Reviews

"The Delacampagnes' argument is crisp, lucid, economical, and persuasive. Their conceptualization and interpretation of the subject is, so far as I am aware, new. I know of no work that both presents such an extensive range of imagery and offers a comprehensive analysis of this kind."-Arthur Goldhammer, Harvard University