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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: inscription in book--no other writing, binding good, corners bent, edge wear, some scuffs
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The Life of the Bee Paperback – June 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) was a Belgian author, the outstanding exponent of symbolist drama and the author of The Blue Bird and Pelléas and Mélisande.

Maeterlinck was born August 29, 1862, in Ghent and educated in law at the university there. He abandoned the legal profession when he moved to Paris in 1886 and came under the influence of the symbolist poets. Reacting against the prevailing naturalism of French literature, Maeterlinck wrote some symbolist poetry, notably Les serres chaudes (Hothouses, 1889). He is known principally for his plays, for which he received the 1911 Nobel Prize. He lectured in the U.S. in 1921 and spent World War II there. Maeterlinck returned to Europe following the war and died May 6, 1949, in Nice, France.

Maeterlinck's plays are characterized by clear and simple writing, by a dreamlike atmosphere, and by the suggestion rather than the direct expression of ideas and emotions. His early plays are marked by an attitude of profound melancholy and pessimism in the face of evil and death; in his later plays this attitude gives way to a belief in the redeeming power of love and in the reality of human happiness.

His plays include The Princess Maleine (1889); the melancholy fantasy masterpiece Pelléas et Mélisande (1892), made into an opera (1902) by the French composer Claude Debussy; and The Blue Bird (1909), which has become a classic for children. Less popular are Monna Vanna (1902) and The Burgomaster of Stilmonde (1918). Maeterlinck was also the author of many works in prose that deal with philosophic questions and with nature; they include The Treasure of the Humble (1896), The Life of the Bee (1901), and The Intelligence of Flowers (1907).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 427 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of the Pacific (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898753759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898753752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,085,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This book was first published in 1901, the printed version has 178 pages. At the moment I write this Amazon does not offer this title for free in Europe, but it is in the public domain, so you can find it for free on the web. On the web this book is available in several languages, including English, Dutch and French.

In this book you can read a lot about the behaviour of bees (the author had an extensive knowledge of bees, not only from books he read but also from close observations of these little animals).

A list of the contents of this book:

I. ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE HIVE
II. THE SWARM
III. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CITY
IV. THE LIFE OF THE BEE
V. THE YOUNG QUEENS
VI. THE NUPTIAL FLIGHT
VII. THE MASSACRE OF THE MALES
VIII. THE PROGRESS OF THE RACE
APPENDIX

Maurice Maeterlinck was a great writer who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. One of the main themes in his work is the meaning of life; and even in this book on bees you can find philosophical bits on this theme. Maeterlinck writes so beautifully that even if you're not interested in bees at all, I would recommend downloading this book and giving it a try.

To give you an idea of the manner of writing of Maeterlinck and the content of this book I will copy one paragraph of the first chapter, namely the first phrases of 'section 5' of this chapter:

In order to follow, as simply as possible, the life of the bees
through the year, we will take a hive that awakes in the spring and
duly starts on its labours; and then we shall meet, in their natural
order, all the great episodes, viz.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Not enough people read Maeterlinck today and this is a shame: the man was, unlike some Nobel prize winners in literature, truly a fantastic writer with a uniquely tuned, sharp, comprehensively philosophical but never didactic mind. Coming from a well-to-do Belgian family in the age before Television, Radio, and all the other usually destructive distractions of today, the young Maeterlinck had beekeeping for his principal hobby (just ask even your high-I.Q. high-schooler today ANYTHING about the life of bees and ants and other social insects and you'll be amazed at how little they know, in spite of the 'Discovery' Channel and all the documentary films made about the subject and shown on TV), and inspired by the essays of Fabre, began a period of amateur observation and experiment with his apiary, finally publishing the results in 1901, at the age of 39, as "Life of the Bee." Written in a highly poetic style that blended fact, imagination, and mystical speculation, it became the single most popular book ever written about insect life. Not that there aren't errors in Maeterlinck's observations that subsequent research corrected, but as far as the QUALITY OF WRITING is concerned, no one else can even come close to these amazing descriptions: in fact, some of the best written passages in all of literature are in this book.
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By A Customer on November 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
i found a copy of this in london, just hoping for something to keep me occupied while i was traveling. it turned out to be one of the best books i've ever read. an utterly unique view of the world - the bee's and our own.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a classic, of course. He makes it quite clear that he is not an entymologist or an apiarist, but his own observations over many years are priceless. Particularly interesting are his explanations of swarming when the queen bee flies to higher altitudes than most bees can reach and is pursued by the male bees, one fortunate male is able to impregnate the queen while in flight--only to have his abdomen ripped out and dying when the deed is done. The sperm from that one donor is stored in a special organ in the queen's abdomen, where it is doled out to fertilize each of the thousands of eggs she will lay daily. It's a gruesome death for the successful donor, but that one male bee gets to father generations and literally hundreds of thousands of new bees. The fun part of Maeterlinck's descriptions is the endlessly delicate terminology he uses to describe the copulation process to a rigidly Puritanical Victorian readership in 19th century Europe. He has to resort to much word verbiage to explain the fact that--humans not excluded--in so far as Nature is concerned, the only reason for copulation is to continue the species.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this very insightful book that mixes beekeeping with philosophy and natural history. The only point I didn't like so much was the few poetic phrases that the author inserts every now and then. Other than that, very highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Badly formatted and hard to read edition of a great book, not only a classic natural history book but also has interesting metaphors and beautiful descriptions. I was inspired to read it by the play Man and Superman, by Shaw.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't be ungrateful for a FREE book, but if you are as ignorant as I am, you will not realize that Maeterlinck (1862-1949) waxed (no pun intended) poetic on all sorts of subjects and the language is lovely but the information is very romantic and not exactly correct. This is somewhat like reading Rudolf Steiner on bees, which is very interesting but of no use whatsoever to a beginning beekeeper.
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