The Insect Hunters; or, Entomology in Verse

By: Newman, Edward

Price: £95.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good


Slender 12mo, pp viii, 86, (+ publisher's catalogue - 2 pages), all edges gilt, page 2 slightly marked, otherwise exceptionally clean internally, orange blind-stamped cloth, the upper cover with a gilt title within a wreath, the spine a little faded otherwise a very bright copy of a very scarce book. This first edition did not have the author's name, though he does appear as the publisher. The second edition of 1861 was fully attributed. [The Oates-Selborne copy, with the bookplate of Robert Washington Oates; the library was later gifted to the Gilbert White Museum in 1955.]. {Addressed to Laura Ada Douglas, the young daughter of his colleague John William Douglas, it is an instructive catalogue of the orders of insects according to the knowledge of the day, using precise scientific observation and correct Latin terminology but attempting to invigorate the potentially dull subject-matter with metaphor, lyricism and appeals to emotion and personal experience. A flavour of the book can be given in a passage describing earwigs: "Earwigs or FORFICULINA:Feeding on the lovely petals Of our best and choicest flowers, Hiding in all sorts of crannies From the sunshine in the daytime, Crawling, feeding in the nighttime:Their antennae many-jointed, Gently tapering at the summit, And the joints are swollen, beadlike, Beads strung in a tiny necklace;The fore wings are square and shortened, Leaving all the body naked." Newman takes the metre of his poem from one of the most fashionable works of the day, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's recently published The Song of Hiawatha (1855). He refers to his own lines as stolen from Longfellow, and uses a brief extract from the poem as an epigraph. Hiawatha gives him more than just a metre; Newmans whole approach is borrowed from his model, from the structuring metaphor which describes insects as belonging to tribes, to the insistent use of repetition intended to suggest oral poetry, to the device of translation whereby an unfamiliar term appears together with its English equivalent. The passage on the earwig is probably the only part of the poem still in general circulation, thanks to its inclusion in an anthology of bad verse (Petras and Petras 1997, 79). Newman is undoubtedly a better entomologist than poet, but he is no William McGonagall, and his book is still quite readable, largely because he succeeds in his task of conveying his enthusiasm for the subject. [Taken from Matthew Francis' "Hiawatha and the Earwig".].}

Title: The Insect Hunters; or, Entomology in Verse

Author Name: Newman, Edward

Categories: Entomology, Poetry,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: Bishopsgate, London, Published by the author: 1857

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition: Very Good

Seller ID: 016789

Keywords: hiawatha. longfellow.