From Medieval manuscripts to the Brothers Grimm to Lassie, or what Victorian limericks have to do with Ancient Greece.
By Maria Popova
If you, like me, are a lover of dogs and a lover of books, then you’ll be head over heels with Dogs In Books: A Celebration of Dog Illustration Through the Ages. From Aesop’s Fables to the Bible to Alice in Wonderland to Oliver Twist and beyond, the slim but mighty volume chronicles the dog’s inextricable presence in our collective history, art, and mythology through contemporary drawings and rare archival illustrations of more than 30 famous dogs culled from the British Library’s collection.
In the introduction, Catherine Britton, Senior Editor at the British Library, reminds us:
The written evidence of the relationship between dogs and humans is almost as old as literature itself. In the eighth century BC Homer wrote in The Odyssey of Odysseus’ return to Ithaca, where only his faithful old dog Argos recognised him. Odysseus had been away, HOmer says, for 7300 days, or twenty years, and Argos was by now old and infirm, but still struggled to greet his master.”
Alongside each image is a short essay that contextualizes the dog and its cultural significance, as well as the history of the illustration itself.
Equal parts charming and illuminating, Dogs In Books is an absolute treat for those who love literature’s furriest heroes.
Images courtesy of Mark Batty Publisher
Published January 31, 2012