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Allin, Michael

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ISBN 10: 0747222991 / ISBN 13: 9780747222996
Verlag: Headline, 1998
Gebraucht Hardcover
Verkäufer Eastleach Books (Newbury, BER, Vereinigtes Königreich)

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Cloth, dj, F/F. 215pp, decorated endpapers, b/w illustrations, index, a nice fine copy in a dustjacket that is sunned ( badly ) to the rear panel. The true tale of a Giraffe's journey from Africa to the Heart of post-Napoleonic France. She was the first living Giraffe to visit Europe in over 350 years. 400 grams. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 41655

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Zarafa

Verlag: Headline

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st edition..

Über diesen Titel


Fine cloth copy in a near-fine, very slightly edge-nicked and dust-dulled dw, now mylar-sleeved. Remains particularly and surprisingly well-preserved overall; tight, bright, clean and strong. SIGNED by the author. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 215 pages; Physical desc. : 215 p. : ill. , maps, ports. ; 22 cm. Subjects: Giraffe - France - Biography. Zoo animals - France - History - 19th century. France - History - Charles X, 1824-1830. Notes: Subtitle from cover - Includes index.


Michael Allin's Zarafa is a delightful piece of popular cultural history, which draws on the current fascination with exotic animals and their even more exotic owners, seen most recently in Lawrence Norfolk's novel The Pope's Rhinoceros.

Zarafa recounts the history of a Masai giraffe captured in the Sudan in 1826 and shipped to France for presentation to the French king, Charles X. The giraffe was initially intended as a diplomatic gift offered to Charles by Muhammad Ali, the despotic Viceroy of Egypt, in an attempt to curry favour with the French as Muhammad set about his invasion of Greece. But in the midst of this potentially unremarkable event, Allin uncovers a weird and wonderful story of the tangled, momentous events which surrounded the giraffe's extraordinary journey: Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and the beginnings of Egyptology; the giraffe's dramatic journey along the route of the North African slave trade; quarantine off Marseilles on the island of If, the former residence of the Count of Monte Cristo; and the giraffe's enchanting encounter with the scientific community of post-Revolutionary France. These remarkable events culminated in the giraffe's triumphant entry into Paris in 1827 in front of crowds of thousands following a walk of 550 miles from Marseilles to Paris, led by none other than Etienne Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, the founding professor of the National Museum of Natural History.

Allin's stories are indeed remarkable, though he often seems bewitched by the richness of his own material. At times, the book seems as though it cannot make up its mind as to whether it is a travel narrative, an account of Zarafa, or the 19th century's fascination with exotic animals. This is partly due to a loss of pace in crucial moments of the book; Allin's account is so breathless by the time the giraffe reaches Paris that the final sections of the book seem rather anticlimactic. Nevertheless, this is a great story with a remarkable cast of characters--both human and animal. --Jerry Brotton

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