Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Rabbit and the Hare - Barbara (Gowdy) Purchase

This was the first thing that Barbara Gowdy ever had her creative hand in, and it is the last work of hers that I had left to read. For Christmas, Eric found a copy of this collection online, and he of course found me a signed copy. I look at the completion and ownership of a collection like this as a reward for finishing every work by my favourite author.

This is a collection of stories, songs, poems and myths about rabbits and hares. The introduction that Barbara includes explains why she decided to put something like this together, and it basically touches on a deep fascination with the small mammal. From an early age, she was amazing by both rabbits and hares, and through this collection she aims to widen the scope of knowledge concerning both.

The pieces that were recorded in this collection range from old fables to natural history on the mammal, and from contemporary prose to the more ancient of myths. Barbara sifted through writers such as A. A. Milne, Mark Twain and Aristotle to find works that related to her search. When she found works that pertained to rabbits and hares, she organized them into a collection that speaks to the history and the folklore of these mammals, as well as confirming the fact that they have been on the mind of man since the beginning of time.

I think what I love most about this collection is its existence, in general. Never would I have thought of collecting works written throughout history composed on the subject of rabbits, but Barbara found a way to not only do this, but also to include her own poetics through the introduction and the organization of the text.

I give this collection a 4/5. I wish that there had been more original writing by Gowdy herself, but I am satisfied with the amount of her work that I have read, already. The pieces that she did choose fit perfectly together, and it is her organization that gives this collection the power that it has.

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