Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Octopus in Literature and Art

The Kraken
Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant fins the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battering upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by men and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson's Kraken was probably inspired by a squid, not an octopus, but let's not split hairs.

This image was based of a creature French sailors reported attacking their ship off the coast of Angola in the nineteenth century.
Octopuses have played the bad guy in fiction for more than a thousand years. Pliny the Elder wrote these words in AD77.
"No animal is more savage in causing the death of man in the water; for it struggles with him by coiling round him and it swallows him with suckercups and drags him asunder by its multiple suction, when it attacks men who have been shipwrecked or are diving."
No one who is familiar with the curious, and retiring nature of the Giant Pacific Octopus would recognise it from this description, but it was probably the first of many subsequent villifications of the much-maligned beast.

Octopuses have played a role in pulp fiction for years, usually as the villain.....

"Satan of the Sea Spreads Evil Tentacles to Guard the Treasures of the Deep"

But not always.....

"Pearl the Octopus" Nemo's friend in "Finding Nemo"

The first film appearance of the Giant octopus was in 1916, when it starred in "20000 Leagues under the Sea". Giant octopuses have starred in disaster movies on and off since then. It was 1955 when the B-movie "It Came From Beneath the Sea" came out . Poor octopus became radioactive after an atomic bomb test, grew to a gargantuan size, and was reduced to trying to feed on The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

In 1977 a group of Italian filmakers took advantage of the success of "Jaws" to produce a film called "Tentacoli". Despite having the talents of Henry Fonda and John Huston it was an unqualified disaster.

In 2009 Megashark Versus Giant Octopus came out to less than glowing reviews.

In a slightly more literary example, an octopus fights the hero in Victor Hugo's "Toilers of the Sea". The octopus seems to be universally regarded as a man-killing monster.

Victor Hugo's artwork

Hopefully the octopuses image will improve as more people watch wildlife documentaries and see it in its natural habitat.

Tomorrow...The Octopus and his Environment

No comments:

Post a Comment