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Maria Sibylla Merian’s Caterpillar Book
Author: Kay Etheridge
The Flowering of Ecology presents an English translation of Maria Sybilla Merian’s 1679 ‘caterpillar’ book, Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumen–Nahrung. Her processes in making the book and an analysis of its scientific content are presented in a historical context. Merian raised insects for five decades, recording the food plants, behavior and ecology of roughly 300 species. Her most influential invention was an “ecological” composition, where the metamorphic cycles of insects (usually moths and butterflies) were arrayed around plants that served as food for the caterpillars. Kay Etheridge analyses the 1679 caterpillar book from the viewpoint of a biologist, arguing that that Merian’s study of insect interactions with plants, the first of its kind, was a formative contribution to natural history.
In: Leonardo da Vinci – Nature and Architecture
The Brill series Emergence of Natural History (ENH) features books that examine the historic attitude of humans towards nature as an object of study, and the development of the field of knowledge we now know as natural history. Observing, collecting and explaining the diversity of nature has been important throughout history. This series addresses the many faces of natural history from the classical age up to the early nineteenth century. It is particularly designed to include volumes on the lives, work and networks of people whose contributions have proven foundational, but who have been overshadowed by more well-known figures such as Linnaeus and Darwin. Volumes encompass the global and cultural history of natural history, explore the role played by practitioners such as traveling naturalists, collectors, artists, and bring attention to indigenous, visual, and manuscript sources.

Books may be scholarly monographs or edited works, but we also welcome well-researched exhibition catalogues or primary source editions with comprehensive introductions. Contributions that address underexplored figures, themes, and (visual) sources from an interdisciplinary and historical perspective are particularly encouraged.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts by email to the publisher Stefan Einarson or to one of the series editors Aaron M. Bauer (Villanova University, PA, USA), Kay Etheridge (Gettysburg College, PA, USA), Dominik Hünniger (University of Hamburg, DE), Andreas Weber, (University of Twente, NL).
For information on how to submit a book proposal, please consult the Brill Author Guide.