The Insect World of Fabre

Jean-Henri Fabre, Author, Gerald Malcolm Durrell, Foreword by, Edwin Way Teale, Introduction by Beacon Press $20 (356p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8513-4
Out of print for 20 years, this splendid collection of 40 excerpts from Fabre's works will enchant a whole new generation of readers. De Mattos's fine translations convey the freshness of the 19th-century entomologist's lyrical writings, fully in keeping with his intention of capturing the interest of young people, ``to make them love the natural history which you scientists make them hate.'' And it is easy to be drawn into Fabre's fascination with insects even when he is only watching them pilfer bits of a decomposing mole or observing caterpillars traipse endlessly and unprofitably in a circle--behavior that moves him to bemoan ``the abysmal stupidity of insects as a class.'' Elsewhere he ambushes red Amazon ants to determine how they follow paths they have previously marked, and he fires a mortar to see if the noise disrupts the cicadas' summer song. He also describes the courtship of a pair of scorpions as they wander, hands clasped, exchanging ``ogling glances'' in an evening idyll that concludes with the bride devouring her mate. Natural Science Book Club selection; first serial to Harper's. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Hardcover - 333 pages - 978-0-8070-8512-7
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