A uniquely personal book about butterflies and about the people who love them -- which, surely, is most of us.
Much more than just another field guide or a natural history of butterflies Rainbow Dust explores the ways in which butterflies delight and inspire us all, naturalists and non-naturalists alike. Beginning with the author's own experience of hunting and rearing butterflies as a boy, Peter Marren considers the special place of the butterfly in art, literature, advertising and science, and, latterly, our attempts to conserve them.
Rainbow Dust takes in the controversy over collecting, the women who studied them and the curious details that lead to butterflies being feared as well as loved. This is a celebration of butterflies; one shot through with a sense of wonder but also of sorrow at what we are losing.
"A scholarly and captivating excursion into the history of natural history, further enlivened by vivid portraits of some of the butterfly enthusiasts of the past" -- Michael McCarthy * Independent *
"Never again will this reader, at least, take a butterfly for granted... Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Rainbow Dust is a truly marvellous book" -- Sophia Waugh, 5 stars * Telegraph *
"In Peter Marren Britain's butterflies have found their champion. Is Rainbow Dust worth a flutter? Oh, absolutely" -- John Lewis-Stempel * The Times *
"[A] superbly distilled statement on our national obsession with butterflies" -- Mark Cocker * Spectator *
"Whether you know a lot or a little about butterflies, this is an essential read" -- Peter Forbes * Independant *
*** i: Introduction: The Painted Lady*1.: Meeting the Butterfly*2.: Chasing the Clouded Yellow*3.: Graylings: The Birthday of a Passion*4.: Gatekeepers: Collecting with Jean Froissart, John Fowles and Vladimir Nabokov*5.: Lady Glanville's Fritillary*6.: At the Sign of the Chequered Skipper*7.: The Golden Hog or The Wonderful Names of Butterflies*8.: Seeing Red: The Admiral*9.: Fire and Brimstone: Butterflies and the Imagination*10.: Silver Washes and Pearl Borders: Painting Butterflies*11.: Endgame: The Large Blue and Other Dropouts*12.: The Wall or How to Save a Butterfly*13.: Envoi: Aurora or the Daughter of Dawn*** ii: Appendix: British Butterflies* iii: Notes* iv: Bibliography* v: Acknowledgements* vi: Index