Robin writings feature in new book

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Robin writings feature in new book


Lecturer Dr Andrew Lack, has updated the book 'Robin Redbreast'; by his father, eminent ornithologist David Lack.

Oxford Brookes' lecturer, Dr Andrew Lack, has written a new, extended and updated version of the book Robin Redbreast by his late father - the eminent ornithologist David Lack.

Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature is an anthology of robin writings including poetry, prose, anecdotes and illustrations.

"My father's book was published 57 years ago when publishing and writing styles were very different," says Dr Lack. "I've tried to retain the spirit of the original, but have included many new poems and illustrations, and rewritten the commentary. I also commissioned a set of cartoons by Euan Dunn from the RSPB who has produced some lovely work."

Like his father, Dr Andrew Lack, has always loved birds, especially robins, and the book celebrates the many different ways in which the robin has inspired people.

"It constantly amazes me how varied the ways the robin interacts with us are and this is reflected in the literature," adds Dr Lack.

"The robin song, like that of the nightingale and skylark, is celebrated by poets but it doesn't stop there. The robin is recognised as the friendly, domestic bird that will feed from our hand in winter but it's also associated with death reflected in verse like Who Killed Cock Robin and the Babes in the Wood, and there is much folklore especially to do with its red breast.

'It's even associated with politics going right back to the 17th century when a robin came into Westminster Abbey and spent several days perched on the coffin of Queen Mary II as she lay in state - the robin became known as the 'Westminster Wonder' and some believed it was a political omen.

"The book has 12 chapters alluding to the robin's most famous connection of all with Christmas and, in particular, postage when postmen were nicknamed 'robins.' The final chapter is entitled A Happy Christmas."

Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature is published by SMH books and is available or may be ordered from good booksellers including the Blackwell's book shop at Oxford Brookes.

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