Our 2,500-Year-Long Fascination with the World’s Most Talkative Bird

224pp 49 ILLUS 2010 LIST PRICE: £18.99 (P) N108



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Introduced to Europe by Alexander the Great, parrots were quickly embraced by Western culture as exotic and astonishing. Over the centuries they would become objects of veneration or figures of folly, creatures prized for their wit – or their place on the dinner table. Identifying a deeply-rooted obsession with these beautiful and loquacious birds, Boehrer celebrates their presence and meanings in the art, literature and history of civilisation. He identifies an irony in the way parrots became ubiquitous as symbols and mascots, while suffering near extinction at the hands of those who desired them.

The book is written by that most rare and wonderful of specimens – an academic whose obsession with parrots is disciplined by his knowledge and love of literature. LITERARY REVIEW