Cracidae: Their Biology and Conservation by Stuart Strahl, Silvia Beaujon

By Stuart Strahl, Silvia Beaujon

Extensive e-book all concerning the cracidae and their biology and conservation

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As we witnessed in the Introduction, Stephen’s strong sense of biographical taste had fulfilled many different roles in his life in the preceding decade. As a means of disseminating good practice and ensuring evenness of approach and tone among multitudes of contributors, it had helped him to run the cumbersome machinery of the Dictionary efficiently As an aesthetic it had formed the basis of his professional mystique, lending a certain cachet to his own literary verdicts. Precisely because biography was so deeply and intricately embedded in many of his masculine identities (as jobbing editor and servant of the nation, professional literary historian, traditional man of letters, leisured private reader, and as memorialist of friends, family and literary peers) his ideas about the genre often seem flexible to the point of inconsistency rather than strictly systematic.

He also saw a truculent glance proceeding from the eye of Sir Theodore Martin. He was sure that they had all found the same thing as they sat by their neighbours. ’ (Anon. 1894:9–10) The dinner, and Thompson’s speech, attest to the self-conscious deployment of a gratifying image of Dictionary culture as united and self-selecting: the spectacle of two generations of a public school, Oxbridge and clerical élite meeting with a common national purpose. We sense the strong element of INTRODUCTION 31 clubability and the homosocial—even faintly homoerotic—satisfactions of DNB involvement: satisfactions cut across by the disreputable fact that money changed hands between members of the club.

Reflecting on the advantages of Dictionary discipline, he on the one hand exhorts would-be Dictionary biographers to aim for meticulousness, concision and rhetorical restraint, and on the other encourages them to endeavour, through careful selection and emphasis, to recreate the ‘little drama’ of a human life (130). Biography is, in other words, both a science and an art. Stephen employs an intricate web of metaphors to link the scientific and artistic aspirations of the Dictionary biographer. Chief among these are the motifs of condensation, concentration and compression.

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