By Claire Preston
"Bee" is not a publication in regards to the biology of bees or background of beekeeping, even supposing a number of chapters in this were incorporated. quite, it is a booklet concerning the bee as a cultural or political image. the writer is a lecturer in English literature. certainly, the biology sections of the booklet include sloppy blunders. for example, Preston does not comprehend the precise taxonomical courting among ants, wasps and bees. She additionally always refers back to the Western honeybee because the simply honey-making bee, but mentions different honey-making bees besides, occasionally at the comparable web page!
But then, the booklet is absolutely approximately humans...
Preston issues out that the honeybee has frequently been a favorable image in Western tradition. The bee was once thought of chaste, virginal, hard-working and co-operative. Christians hooked up it to the virgin beginning of Christ or the perpetual virginity of Mary (for decades, humans had no proposal how bees reproduce). The bee supposedly left the backyard of Eden already earlier than the autumn of guy, and was once consequently an ideal divine construction. in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many royalists claimed that the hive was once managed by way of a king bee. Supporters of a constitutional monarchy claimed that the worker-bees may overthrow a nasty king bee. And a admirer of Elizabeth I mentioned (correctly) that the "king" bee was once fairly a queen bee! nonetheless others observed the beehive as a republic.
Preston has detected a transformation of perspective in the direction of the honeybee as a cultural image through the French revolution. either the revolutionaries and Napoleon used the bee or the beehive as trademarks. due to this, the bee received a destructive popularity in Britain. by surprise, bees have been obvious much less because the epitome of order and extra as a perilous swarm bent on destruction. The hostility to the bee used to be persevered via the Romantics, who observed it as a metaphor for depersonalized business society. Likewise with Fritz Lang, whose recognized motion picture "Metropolis" depicts enslaved staff as being just like bees.
But the worst bee-scare got here within the usa after global conflict II, might be as a result of anti-Communist hysteria of the chilly struggle. The collectivism of the hive resembled that of Communism. Preston additionally mentions a number of horror videos the place the evil takes the shape of ladies who change into "queen bees". unusually, Preston by no means displays on no matter if those motion pictures will be anti-feminist. in fact, whilst the Africanized killer bee "invaded" the USA from Mexico, the motion picture had a box day. Many horror video clips approximately killer bees use those bugs as an evidently racist metaphor for Blacks, Mexicans or extraterrestrial beings usually. One fairly undesirable motion picture depicts the killer bees as eco-terrorists, and this even sooner than eco-terrorism grew to become a subject matter!
However, Preston additionally issues out that the ecu honeybee was once nonetheless noticeable as a good cultural image in lots of contexts. within the usa, bees are nonetheless used as function versions for kids: "Be a Do-Bee, do not be a Don't-Bee". certainly, it really is tough to think that the adverse perspective in the direction of the ecu honeybee used to be ever the dominant development. it is hardly ever a co-incidence that the damaging perspectives of the chilly warfare period have been later projected onto the extra competitive and invasive killer bees!
Some new improvement no longer pointed out via the writer are the varroa mite and CCD. My bet is that bees will finally turn into symbols of human civilization itself. the following horror motion picture will function vast mites...or terrorists inducing mass hunger via CCD. The honeybees (and ecologists) often is the reliable men. dull, correct?
As already mentioned, "Bee" isn't approximately bees. it is a e-book concerning the human hive. it is not a scholarly learn, yet really a compilation of proof approximately bees as metaphor. a few chapters may need greater enhancing. Frankly, you most likely may still method this publication with a grain of salt. I suggest, a ebook that mentions either Virgil, Edmund Burke and "Candyman"? nonetheless, when you've got a beekeeper or Do-Bee within the relatives, it might probably might be paintings as a lighter birthday reward.
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Additional resources for Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal)
The idea has persisted, even in modern culture, that an orderly and successful hive reflects the virtue of the keeper, and only the virtuous can keep bees. The great locus classicus for the moral bee, and the source of non nobis, is Vergil’s Georgics, poems about the farming and agricultural practices of the imperial Romans. The fourth section of Georgics is a delightful mixture of practical beekeeping tips (make little bridges of osiers across brooks, he instructs, so that bees can drink easily), and descriptions of their social and political life.
1851 was the annus mirabilis of beekeeping. In that year, the Revd Lorenzo L. Langstroth of Philadelphia, with the simplicity of real genius, devised a new hive which created a ‘bee-space’ (about 35mm) between the hive wall and the frame edge, a space he determined by years of observation, which the bees respected and did not attempt to bridge with a wax or propolis joint. Thus was born the modern beehive, whose hanging frames of honeyfilled combs rest in slots and can be readily removed almost like hanging files from a filing cabinet as they are completed by the bees, to be emptied by the keeper and replaced in the hive.
Is, however, no record of developed beekeeping in India in this period. Honey-taking from wild bees was an important religious practice associated with the Hindu cults of Vishnu, Indra and Krishna, gods born from nectar and sometimes symbolized by the bee. 5 Sophisticated techniques in apiculture no doubt spread across western and northern Europe with the expansion of the Roman empire, but honey-hunting and beekeeping were already well established in the provinces long before that. Understanding of bees, which was connected with the large-scale brewing of mead, became inflected by the Roman tradition, and that hybrid set of ideas survived until the Enlightenment.
Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal) by Claire Preston