Welcome to my Modern Bestiary. When I picked up my first bestiary, with the intention of finding the perfect research paper topic to get me into graduate school. I was hoping to combine my major, English with a concentration in medieval literature, with my love of animals. Before long, however, the research paper was put aside, replaced with a desire to write a modern bestiary. I finally began it through an assignment for a writing class, and the entries I wrote seemed to have been positively recieved. This blog is the next step, a place to store my developing ideas and hopefully get some reader feedback so that, someday, I can finally publish it.
Some of you may be asking why I would want to do such a thing, when we already have zoological encyclopedias, biology textbooks, and so many other writings on animals. As I learned, however, a bestiary is something quite different. It is not a simple catalog of animals. First of all, it also contains plants and even rocks. Secondly, a bestiary is not a source of factual information. Many of the animals are imaginary, and those which are real are given fictional attributes. This is not because of superstition and ignorance from the writers. A bestiary, just like an animal encyclopedia, does contain observations of nature. However, it is the nature of man that is being studied. This is the most important distinction of the bestiary. They use animals as moral allegories to teach human values. The descriptions of the creatures may be inaccurate because the real lessons of a bestiary concern virtue and sin. They are books that teach people about people; the animals just make it more interesting.
My goal is to make a bestiary that uses creatures significant to modern society to show contemporary values. Today, with cities and technology, it is so easy to feel disconnected to the natural world. If we look close enough at it, however, we can still find our reflection. With this bestiary, I hope to share what I see. I hope that readers will respond with feedback, so that I can find what works and what doesn't. I hope to raise interest, so that one day I can publish this bestiary and know that people will read it. Most of all, I hope that you will gain a new perspective on the world around us, and strengthen the bond between man and nature.