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Cats in Books: A Celebration of Cat Illustration through the Ages [Paperback]

Rodney Dale

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Book Description

Oct. 15 2008 British Library - Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues
How many children cut their literary teeth on the clever vanishings of Macavity, the Mystery Cat (“Macavity’s not there!”)—all the while unknowingly repeating the rhymes of T. S. Eliot—one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished poet-critics? What about the other feline phenomena from the literary canon—Edward Gorey’s playful illustrations of cats from all walks of life (which revealed Gorey’s own predilection for these gentle beasts: he usually had at least six living with him at any given time), Sir John Tenniel’s beloved rendering of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat, the charmed creatures of Kathleen Hale’s Orlando, the works of Beatrix Potter, and yes, even Edward Lear’s nineteenth-century Foss? 
From Ancient Egypt onward, cat illustrators have endeavored to capture the character and charm of this notoriously elusive animal. Among the better-known artists whose work is reproduced and this engagingly representative volume are Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Arthur Rackham, and Aubrey Beardsley. Lavishly illustrated with some of the finest renderings of cats throughout the ages, Cats in Books covers not just the ironically familiar felines of modern literature, but also lesser known cats from works like the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Lutrell Psalter, and The Book of Kells. The perfect gift for the cat fancier and bibliophile alike, this volume and its delightful depictions of cats throughout the ages will fascinate readers who share a passion for all things involving the Felis Catus—or simply the longstanding relationship between the books in our hands and the charming creatures curled up on our laps.

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Rodney Dale shows his cat-loving credentials right from the start--and why not? "Pussydom," as he puts it, is a marvelous thing, and artists have long been inspired by feline grace and danger (his first example being a stalking, elongated beast from the 8th-century Lindisfarne Gospels). Dale's high-gloss survey packs in fine art from da Vinci and Dürer as well as some startling children's book illustrations. It also extends to this century's ailurophiles, from Dr. Seuss's skinny troublemaker to Ronald Searle's chubbies to B. Kliban's none-too-slim smart alec. And the author manages to include a surprising amount of fact amid this quadruped fancy. Here he is, for example, on Cardinal Richelieu: "It is, perhaps, disappointing to learn that, as soon as his current set of kittens started to grow up and lose their playfulness, the careworn cardinal pensioned them off and sent for some new ones." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Rodney Dale is a lifelong cat lover and the author of over thirty volumes, including the first biography of cat illustrator Louis Wain (1860–1939).

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative March 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This little book is loaded with images from books of different ages, all about cats. As I turned the pages, it was as if I was strolling through the history of art and literature. I found very interesting how different artists chose to depict felines through the ages, and how this changes according to each artist's backgroung and time.

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