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Lead book review

Here be dragons, dog-headed men and women growing on trees

Justin Marozzi celebrates the medieval naturalist Zakariyya Qazwini and his breathtaking bid to capture the marvels of creation

28 January 2023

9:00 AM

28 January 2023

9:00 AM

Wonders and Rarities: The Marvellous Book That Travelled the World and Mapped the Cosmos Travis Zadeh

Harvard, pp.465, 31.95

I have to confess that this book sat on my desk for several months. The words ‘Harvard University Press’ cast a strange and unsettling spell which prevented me from even opening it. Let’s be honest: academic presses are not always synonymous with rollicking reads, nor indeed are academics. They can ask an awful lot of the general reader – that would be most of us.

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