City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, its Tower, and its Famous Ravens

City of Ravens The Extraordinary History of London its Tower and its Famous Ravens Tales tell of how Charles II fearful of ancient legends that Britain will fall if the ravens at the Tower of London ever leave their abode ordered the wings of the six ravens to be clipped But the t

  • Title: City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, its Tower, and its Famous Ravens
  • Author: Boria Sax
  • ISBN: 9780715640814
  • Page: 196
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Tales tell of how Charles II, fearful of ancient legends that Britain will fall if the ravens at the Tower of London ever leave their abode, ordered the wings of the six ravens to be clipped But the truth is that the ravens only arrived at the Tower in 1883 This book tells the true story of the ravens.

    • City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, its Tower, and its Famous Ravens by Boria Sax
      196 Boria Sax
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      Posted by:Boria Sax
      Published :2019-09-24T05:45:40+00:00

    2 thoughts on “City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, its Tower, and its Famous Ravens

    1. I first became interested in the literature of animals around the end of the 1980 s, not terribly long after I had obtained my PhD in German and intellectual history I was feeling frustrated in my search for an academic job and even study of literature By accident, I came across an encyclopedia of animals that had been written in the early nineteenth century There, without any self consciousness, was a new world of romance and adventure, filled with turkeys that spoke Arabic, beavers that build like architects, and dogs that solve murders Within a few months, I had junked my previous research and devoted my studies to these texts.Today, I shudder how nervy the switch was for a destitute young scholar, who, despite one book and several articles, had not managed to obtain any steady job except mopping floors But soon I had managed to publish two books on animals in literature, The Frog King 1990 and The Parliament of Animals 1992 Around 1995, I founded Nature in Legend and Story NILAS, Inc , an organization that combines storytelling and scholarship It was initially, a sort of rag tag band of intellectual adventurers who loved literature but could not find a niche in the scholarly world We put together a few conferences, which generated a lot of excitement among the few who attended, but little notice in academia or in what they sometimes call the real world From fables and anecdotes, I moved to mythology, and published The Serpent and the Swan 1997 , a study of animal bride tales from around the world This was followed by many further publications including an examination of the darker side of animal studies, Animals in the Third Reich 2000 , and a sort of compendium, The Mythical Zoo 2002 , and a cultural history of corvids entitled Crow 2003 My most recent book is City of Ravens London, its Tower and its Famous Ravens 2011 , and Imaginary Animals will be published soon by Reaktion Books in London.When I embarked on the study of animals in myth and literature, even graduate students did not have to mention a few dozen books just to show that they had read them In barely than a couple decades, the literature on human animal relations has grown enormously in both quantity and sophistication NILAS, I am proud to say, has become a well established organization, which has sponsored two highly successful conferences together with ISAZ.But as the study of animals, what I like to call totemic literature, becomes of a standard feature of academic programs, I fear that something may be lost It is now just a little too easy to discourse about the social construction and the transgression of boundaries between animals and human beings Even as I admire the subtlety of such analysis, I sometimes find myself thinking, So what Having been there close to the beginning, part of my role is now to preserve some the sensuous immediacy, with that filled the study of animals in literature when it was still a novelty That sort of poetry is not simply a luxury in our intellectual pursuits With such developments as cloning, genetic engineering, and the massive destruction of natural habitats, we face crises so unprecedented that traditional philosophies, from utilitarianism to deep ecology, can offer us precious little guidance The possibilities are so overwhelming, that we hardly even know what questions to ask But neither, I am sure, did the fugitive who once encountered a mermaid in the middle of the woods.

    2. My father, a wildlife biologist in Alaska, gave me the middle name of Wolf. In turn, I gave my son the middle name of Raven. So obviously ravens are close to my heart.Unfortunately, I found that this book didn’t really speak to me, though that really isn’t the fault of author Boria Sax. The problem is that because I associate ravens with the life and myths of the Pacific Northwest, the ravens of the Tower of London just didn’t really resonate with me.My take away was that the British have [...]

    3. Initially I was drawn to this story by the cover, with the ravens sitting over the Tower of London. I've been there, and you can't help but be drawn to the great black bird that roam around. Of course, those ones can't fly over, as they have had their wings clipped to prevent them leaving.The author mainly looks at the origin of the Towers birds, and the truth regarding the idea that the Monarchy will fall if the birds ever leave. He also explores how other European cultures have their own myths [...]

    4. The mere mention of ravens is enough to conjure images of darkness and death. Boria Sax’s book “City of Ravens” helps to rectify their reputation. This magical book traces the legend and lore of ravens as it tackles the mystery of how they first came to reside in the Tower of London. Along the way, the bird undergoes a transformation from that of despised scavenger to much loved tourist attraction. There is an ancient prophesy that Britain will fall if the ravens ever leave the Tower of Lo [...]

    5. "Bran means 'crow' in Welsh, and 'raven' in Cornish, Irish and Scots Gaelic." Now that Song of Ice & Fire fans have collectively perked up their ears, let's talk about the Tower of London. As one of the huddled masses yearning to breath free, if I had ever heard of the legend of the Ravens of the Tower of London, it didn't stick. For those that don't know or can't remember, rumor has it that when the Tower has no more ravens, Britain shall fall. And while this may feel torn from the pages of [...]

    6. This little book is a fascinating account of the ways in which birds of the corvidae family are associated with omens, prophecies and other dark doings. Sax's account of the legend of the ravens of the Tower of London, which forms a kind of centrepiece in this short book, is fascinating. I always assumed that the legend that England would fall if the ravens disappeared from the tower was one steeped in antiquity. Sax, however, puzzled that he could find no reference to the ravens in medieval or [...]

    7. The book itself was quite scattered and it was kind of like, "Oh, it's done?" when I reached the end. Still, an interesting beginner's intro to the story of the Tower ravens. But very little about the raven's mythology or place within the rest of the world is touched on.I think I got a bit more out of the end notes - at least in terms of further books to check out that are hopefully a little more in depth. I particularly enjoyed this quote from Stephen Spotte: "Zoos take considerable pains to de [...]

    8. For me, the meat of this book was in Sax's writings about the nature of mythology, which he gets into deeper when wrapping up the book. Prior to that, it is something of a chronology of references to the Ravens and the Tower of London, going back to Brân, and a questioning analysis of the popular idea that "if the ravens leave the Tower, Britain will fall" (and what "falling" even means). It's good, and actually fairly short, if not a little light and skimmable in some parts (anecdotal stuff ab [...]

    9. This was a book that I won through . I was a little surprised when I opened the package and to my amazement, I received 4 copies of the book. Apparently it is not selling too well. There were parts of the book that I really liked--the historical information on the actual executions that took place in the Tower of London, and the information on Victorian England, their fascination with the ravens and with their own ancestry and history, and how many of the "ancient" customs and traditions of Engl [...]

    10. This was an interesting little book.I thought it would be more about ravens or about London. While it mentioned both, the book is more about myth, folklore, tradition and how a myth can form in modern times and what that says about a culture. At times, this book was fascinating. I've never heard the history England (or Britain, as it goes farther back than national borders) has with ravens, nor the symbolism within the British context. Also, there were some pretty amazing facts about ravens. Unf [...]

    11. The subject matter of this book is very interesting, especially for someone who heard about the Tower ravens during the coverage of the Olympics. The history and significance of the ravens is covered well, but I couldn't give this book higher than 3 stars. It reads like a manuscript or a brainstorming session. The chapters are broken up into smaller sections that are given hardly any explanation, and some of the conjectures made by the author seem a little strange. So if you can look past the is [...]

    12. Linda Schell City of Ravens puts forth some amazing antedotes. For example, according to Pliny " raven made its nest in the shop of a cobbler in Rome and became so beloved that a man who killed it was punished with death. The raven was given a splendid funeral attended by a large crowd of mourners." Anyone who loves birds will find this book enthralling. Hitler, of all people, wanted to confiscate the ravens in the Tower of London to protect Germany should Germany succeed in conquering the islan [...]

    13. This book is full of information , but there's no real structure to direct it or pull it together. Mythology, science, history, literature, ecology, folklore, and the relationship between animals and humans are all touched upon.I think the author means to use animal-human relations as his key theme, but it isn't strongly emphasized in much of the book. And though the book says it is about the Tower of London ravens, they seem almost incidental to the historical and mythological context.

    14. I had difficulty getting into the author's writing style which seemed disjointed and choppy. Interesting tidbits about the legend of the ravens at the Tower of London. The author's final proposal that, with the re-emergence of the raven population in Britain, the Tower ravens could be joined by a wild raven population in London and perhaps freed from their "captivity" is intriguing. EXTENSIVE bibliography on Tower history and ravens!

    15. Seemed more like a padded journal article than a cohesive book. Ravens at the Tower don't seem to have that much written history. Stretching the cult of ravens to repeatedly mention their roles Celtic, Egyptian and NW Coast mythology felt reaching versus integral to the topic at hand. A book of observations from the raven warders would have been more informative about these subjects.

    16. The author kept stressing how he was an American, so it gave him a unique outsider's perspective, but frankly, I don't think that was something to brag about. From the way this book was written, I would guess he'd never even been to London at all. His knowledge and understanding of the city was lacking, and the book almost seemed dumbed down. Disappointing.

    17. This is a fascinating account of the London towers ravens. It is full of interesting information while it introduces the precepts of folklore. For this reason it is an excellent "dual purpose book": easily read in a weekend for both those interested in ravens as well as introducing ideas about the creation of myth.

    18. There's always a special pleasure in finding something fascinating that you had never thought about before. This book did that for me. Boria Sax's naturalism, his knowledge of myth and literature, and his writing style all add up to an engrossing time, and time well spent.

    19. This is a decent history of the ravens who live at the Tower of London. I did not know about these ravens and only briefly noticed them when I was there standing in a rain storm trying to eavesdrop on a tour guide.

    20. This was a very pleasant diversion, full of lots of historical myths about ravens and the Tower of London. It is quite charming, but sadly I think it won't stick in my mind in the manner of Esther Wolfson's book, Corvus.

    21. Folklore and history of ravens, especially those of the Tower of London. Interesting read. If you like folklore, myth, and how they relate to history, this is a good book.

    22. All I want to do now is visit the Tower of London. Interesting take on the purposeful ignorance that allows urban legends to endure.

    23. Pleasant, mostly harmless. Rides on the charm of the Tower and the ravens with only moderately convincing explanations. I like the idea of a wild raven population in the future.

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