One of the more nonconformist figures in the animal kingdom, the parrot is linked to humans by its ability to speak--a trait many have found unsettling, though this discomfort is offset by its gorgeous plumage, which makes it one of the most popular members of the avian family. Unlike previous studies that have treated parrots as simply a curious oddity, Paul Carter offers here in "Parrot" a thoughtful yet spirited consideration of the natural and cultural history of parrots, discussing parrot portraiture, the role and significance of parrots' mimicry in human culture, and parrot conservation, as well the parrot's role in literature, folklore and mythology, film, and television worldwide. "Parrot" takes three different approaches to the squawker: the first section, "Parrotics," examines the historical, cultural, and scientific classification of parrots; "Parroternalia," the second part, looks at the association of parrots with the different languages, ages, tastes, and dreams of society; and, finally, "Parrotology" investigates what the mimicry of parrots reveals about our own systems of communication. Humorously written and wide-ranging in scope, this volume takes readers beyond pirates and "Polly wants a cracker" to a new kind of animal history, one conscious of the critical and ironic mirror parrots hold up to human society.
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