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  • Published: 15 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143133728
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $30.00

The Penguin Book of Mermaids



Dive into centuries of mermaid lore with this captivating volume that brings together tales of mermaids from around the world.

Among the oldest and most popular mythical beings, mermaids--in all their alluring, mysterious glory--and other merfolk have captured the imagination since long before Ariel sold her voice to a sea witch in the beloved Disney film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." As far back as the eighth century B.C., sailors in Homer's Odyssey stuffed wax in their ears in order to resist the Sirens, who lured men to their watery deaths with song. More than two thousand years later, the gullible New York public lined up to witness a mummified "mermaid" specimen that the enterprising showman P. T. Barnum swore was real. The Penguin Book of Mermaids is a treasury of such tales about merfolk and water spirits from different cultures, ranging from Scottish selkies to Hindu water-serpents to Chilean sea fairies. With incisive commentary that explores the undercurrents of these stories, it shows us how public perceptions of this popular mythical hybrid--at once a human and a fish--illuminate issues of gender, sexuality, spirituality, and ecology throughout history.

  • Published: 15 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143133728
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $30.00

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