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Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities XL (Jumbo) Hardcover – Illustrated, October 1, 2001
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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A gorgeous testament to the wonder with which the Old World surveyed the New. --Wall Street Journal - November 30, 2001
Perhaps this year's most unusual book. --Town & Country, December 2001
About the Author
Irmgard Müsch, born in 1967, studied art history, history and classical archaeology in Mainz and Berlin. Her Ph.D. thesis from 1999 examines Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Kupfer-Bibel, a richly illustrated scientific commentary on the Bible from the early 18th century. She has published on art of the 18th and 20th century, scientific illustrations and Kunstkammer pieces.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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This book specifically: Does the price seem a little spendy?? To the contrary. If you buy it you will be so utterly astonished at the imposing size and the overall high quality that you will find it to be the best bargain of your bargain-hunting and book-buying lifespan. This book is a work of art in its own right. The content is fabulous: spectacular color plates that reveal nature as the most creative (if not downright psychedelic) of artists. It truly is amazing to see a display of awe-inspiring bio-diversity documented in this fashion. If you are not an eager advocate for the environment, you very well may become one upon flipping through these pages. It is impossible to not feel affection for these various small and beautiful creatures, and one feels a mandate to recognize their rightful place on the planet when you have them introduced to you in this fashion. I would personally buy a copy of this for George W. Bush if I could rest assured that he would flip through every page if only once. He would have to re-examine his approach to the planet as a result, or he simply is not human.
Okay, one gripe, one mistake I see Taschen making: a book of this magnitude needs a cloth or "buckram" cover, not a mere "finished cardboard" cover. The cover is nicely decorated and textured, but it is essentially of the same quality as a Dr. Suess book. It is the only aspect of the book where Taschen has cut a corner in an obvious attempt to save money. It is sad that they did so. I think Taschen needs to keep the quality of the bindings high and traditional. Taschen content is so innovative and progressive that they don't need to get too clever with the covers. I have another Taschen book with a "shiny cardboard cover"; it appears to be coated with some type of plastic or resin. Already, after only two years or so, it is making creaking noises when you open it. I envision after a few more years those synthetic molecules quite simply giving up and the entire book falling apart in my hands. Taschen, listen up: most of us are happy to spend a few bucks more for top quality all the way across. This "Cabinet of Curiosities" in particular is insulted by the compromise cover. But despite this caveat, I can not imagine any enlightened person being anything other than fully blown-away by this book. It truly doesn't get much better than this in the world of contemporary books.
That said, it's a wonderful book of amazing prints. It's just so not worth that much money for a reprint that's not even old.
even with the $150 price tag. Then I thought I'd check on Amazon
and maybe get it at a discount - no such luck.
They said they don't discount such hard-to-find titles. Well, it's certainly not hard to
find, as it is published by Taschen, and any decent bookstore has plenty of Taschen
books. It is however huge, and expensive, so there's the trouble. Here is some info on the
book directly from the publishers:
Albertus Seba's "Cabinet of Curiosities" is one of the 18th
century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one
of the most prized natural history books of all time.
Though it was common for men of his profession to collect natural
specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist
Albertus Seba (1665-1736) had a passion that led him far beyond
the call of duty. His amazing, unprecedented collection of animals,
plants and insects from all around the world gained international
fame during his lifetime. In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba
commissioned illustrations of each and every specimen and
arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog detailing his
entire collection-from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs,
crocodiles, shellfish, corals, insects, butterflies and more, as well
as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.
Seba's scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a
single plate, were unusual even for the time. Many of the stranger
and more peculiar creatures from Seba's collection, some of which
are now extinct, were as curious to those in Seba's day as they
are to us now.
Our superb, complete reproduction is taken from a rare,
hand-colored original. The introduction offers background
information about the fascinating tradition of the cabinet of
curiosities to which Seba's curiosities belonged and an additional
annex, written by contemporary biologists, provides descriptions of
I'll most likely save my dollars until I can buy this without feeling too guilty: By the way - it's 646 pages and about 18 inches high.
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