Butterflies. A Portrait

Butterflies. A Portrait

159 pages

Hardcover with numerous illustrations

Genre: Nonfiction, Nature Writing, Nature, Picture Book
"To be a butterfly means to be spontaneous. Maybe it is what the poet calls carefreeness." Andrea Grill

"Psyche" was the ancient Greek word for butterflies and the insect was still at the time of the Counter-Reformation a symbol for a religious soul. We associate today butterflies with joie de vivre and lightness. And yet we only know a handful of the 170,000 identified species. This knowledgeable animal portrait gives an exhaustive account about the short but fascinating life of the moth - from the enigmatic capillar stage to the sudden eclosion, from the choice of a partner guided by pheromon to egglaying. What does a butterfly feel? What does it think? Does he dream? These questions along with many others are answered by a woman who has to know it. Because this book also tells the stroy of the metamorphose of a young student in biology who became a butterfly specialist within a single summer in Greece and spend many years in Sardinia to observe meadow browns before starting to keep butterflies in a closet at the university of Amsterdam. A nimbly and instructive cocoon about mothers but also abut humans who are wandering in summer meadows with long-handled nets.

German title: Schmetterlinge - Ein Portrait
ISBN: 978-3-95757-249-3
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2016
Illustration: Falk Nordmann
Sold to:

Sweden, Italy, China

Sample translation

Complete German text available

Andrea Grill, born 1975, is a biologiest and a writer. She studied biology, Spanish, Italian and linguistic and lived for many years in Sardinia. She got a Ph.D. in 2003 with a thesis on butterflies in Sardinia. Besides her scientific work she is the auhtor of many literary textes and translates from Albanian into German.

"The philosophical reflections found in these passages have been incorporated by the author with her usual light-footedness. By providing an insight into the everyday life of Doctor Caspari, she not only questions the living conditions of young researchers, but also brings into focus the importance of their specialized work for global concerns. Moreover, Andrea Grill has infused her story with moments of suspense and unpredictable twists, so that the fate of first-person narrator Caspari on the paradisiacal island of Mangalemi turns out differently than expected after all." - Alexandra Millner, Die Presse

"This book has its appeal to readers interested in science as well as those interested in art and culture. Or simply for people who have a sense for beautiful creatures - because butterflies certainly are!" - Heiko Hillebrand, WDR

"Andrea Grill really manages to combine the cultural historical with hard biological facts about the butterfly itself in a decidedly entertaining and clever way." - Rosemarie Tuchelt, Hessischer Rundfunk

"It is exciting to witness the repeatedly taken up life course of the author, her ever more intimate and also intensive scientific researching relationship to the butterfly world. She has done an outstanding job. The booklet is a jewel, testifying deep love for the butterfly world and nature in general, with from it sprouting energetic, persevering research diligence." - Werner Schäfer, Gegenwart