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Dogs in Books Paperback – December 6, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Catherine Britton is Senior Editor at the British Library.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935613405
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935613404
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,721,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love dogs. I love books. So I was a natural target for _Dogs In Books: A Celebration of Dog Illustration Through the Ages_ (The British Library and Mark Batty Publishers) by Catherine Britton, a former senior editor at the British Library. You surely know people who are other natural targets for such a book, and it would be a perfect little gift. It is only 112 pages long, small in format but heavy on the illustrations, featuring the most famous dogs in literature and their depictions as found in the British Library. None of the dogs or their pictures are so obscure that only the British Library would have them, although the lovely reproductions of medieval miniatures here are not part of popular book illustration. Britton's comments upon the books and the pictures have many remarkable facts, and I learned a lot about the dogs, even those with whom I was already familiar.

Dogs turn out to be guardians of the underworld in different religions. The initial chapter of the book is on the three-headed dog Cerberus who welcomed dead souls into Hades but kept them from ever passing out again. "The dog is not a popular animal in the Bible," says Britton, and she understates. Biblical dogs were regarded as cowardly, lazy, and unclean scavengers. Of course, in my view, this reflects the general opinion of the region at the time and not some divine judgement; Mohammed didn't think much of dogs either, but his followers have been far better at continuing the scornful attitude toward dogs than Jesus's have. The dog in Old Mother Hubbard is here in 1806 prints, but the nursery rhyme has been illustrated many times. I was glad to be reminded that "so the poor dog had none" isn't the final comment on the dog's fate.
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The images that are included are striking and delightful, but there are not so many images or authors discussed, and the discussions are not scholarly or very informative. Sorry to be negative.
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