The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Trade in your item
Get a $3.94
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing (Animalibus of Animals and Cultures) Hardcover – August 1, 2012


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$86.41 $27.76



NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Series: Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (Trd) (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271053720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271053721
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I have long been a fan of Rachel Poliquin's otherworldly online museum, ravishingbeast.com, but after reading The Breathless Zoo I know just what she means when she says that all taxidermy, like storytelling, is deeply marked by human longing. I am already longing to read The Breathless Zoo again. --Jay Kirk, University of Pennsylvania

With The Breathless Zoo, Rachel Poliquin has made a major contribution to the blossoming field of animal studies. This book is the new benchmark on the place of taxidermy in the social history of art, science, and popular culture. Marvelous, rigorous, and extensively well researched, the work is also refreshingly pleasurable to read. Throughout, Poliquin explores the complex questions around the rich cultural texture of taxidermy. And unlike other works on the topic, The Breathless Zoo examines not only what taxidermy is but also what it means. For those of us engaged in thinking about animals, this is the book on the culture of taxidermy we have long awaited a book of great innovation that slices through the history of science, blood sports, and art.
--Mark Dion


The Breathless Zoo is an intriguing and poetic meditation on an unlikely subject: stuffed animals in European museums that seem so familiar and so intellectually musty. Rachel Poliquin teases out of them not just a typological order but also a human longing for beauty and wonder, story and allegory. In the dead specimens she finds immortality; in their stasis, movement across the world. The result is a rich panorama of human ideas and desires.
--Marina Belozerskaya, author of The Medici Giraffe


The Breathless Zoo is the book that the subject of taxidermy has long deserved. Full of provocative opinions, beautifully expressed, it is a subtle and thoroughly engaging exploration of the difficult question posed by all present-day encounters with taxidermy: What is this animal-thing now?
--Steve Baker

What do Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, Jumbo the Barnum and Bailey circus elephant, and Dolly the cloned sheep all have in common? They were all stuffed. Or, to be more precise, they have all been given life-after-death through the magic of taxidermy. They share this fate with cats dressed in crinolines, ice-skating hedgehogs and gophers doing, well, all manner of things. And with hummingbirds in nineteenth century glass cases at London's Natural History Museum and zebras on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. What is it that propels human beings to stuff the dead bodies of other animals or birds? According to [The Breathless Zoo], taxidermy is about longing -- it is a way of staving off the inevitable, of holding onto the past. Vancouver writer and curator Rachel Poliquin presents a delightfully thorough account of a practice that spans centuries. --Michael Enright, host of CBC Radio One Sunday Edition

A wealth of well-chosen illustrations, anecdotes, and deft readings of individual pieces of taxidermy make The Breathless Zoo a rich study that will appeal to a variety of readers. --Anjuli Raza Kolb, Los Angeles Review of Books

With The Breathless Zoo, Rachel Poliquin has made a major contribution to the blossoming field of animal studies. This book is the new benchmark on the place of taxidermy in the social history of art, science, and popular culture. Marvelous, rigorous, and extensively well researched, the work is also refreshingly pleasurable to read. Throughout, Poliquin explores the complex questions around the rich cultural texture of taxidermy. And unlike other works on the topic, The Breathless Zoo examines not only what taxidermy is but also what it means. For those of us engaged in thinking about animals, this is the book on the culture of taxidermy we have long awaited a book of great innovation that slices through the history of science, blood sports, and art.
--Mark Dion


The Breathless Zoo is an intriguing and poetic meditation on an unlikely subject: stuffed animals in European museums that seem so familiar and so intellectually musty. Rachel Poliquin teases out of them not just a typological order but also a human longing for beauty and wonder, story and allegory. In the dead specimens she finds immortality; in their stasis, movement across the world. The result is a rich panorama of human ideas and desires.
--Marina Belozerskaya, author of The Medici Giraffe


The Breathless Zoo is the book that the subject of taxidermy has long deserved. Full of provocative opinions, beautifully expressed, it is a subtle and thoroughly engaging exploration of the difficult question posed by all present-day encounters with taxidermy: What is this animal-thing now? --Steve Baker

About the Author

Rachel Poliquin is a writer and curator engaged with the cultural and poetic history of the natural world. She has curated taxidermy exhibits for the Museum of Vancouver and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia. Poliquin is the author of ravishingbeasts.com, a website dedicated to exploring the cultural history of taxidermy.


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
4
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 5 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mae.mae on February 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally - a history of taxidermy that looks deep into meaning and contextualizes what these objects meant and mean now.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Professor Catmom on June 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poliquin deftly details the cultural meanings of taxidermy in its many genres, from natural history museum artifact to hunting trophy to rogue art object. This richly illustrated book, first in Penn State Press's series Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures, would appeal to art historians, cultural anthropologists, and those interested in animal representation. The "cultures of longing" in question here include the role taxidermy has played in creating wonder, spectacle, narratives, and memorials to the natural world. What Poliquin does best here is show how taxidermy, while contributing to these and other cultures of longing, cannot quite fulfill our longing to look at real animals, either dead or alive, because a taxidermied animal is, paradoxically, a bit of both, and at the same time, neither. My only complaint with Poliquin's work is that she doesn't sufficiently consider the distinct longing we experience in looking at taxidermies of extinct animals.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By coffee please on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of taxidermy, or rogue taxidermy art then this book is one for your collection. Really lovely collection.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lulu on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Short n' sweet-I LOVE taxidermy(in all of its MANY art forms), and this book is absolutely fascinating. A must have for everyone from the collector-to the artist.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By R. Elias on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
...and already it is awesome. Intelligent. Insightful. Artful. The second best read on taxidermy after Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?