The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, Jan 1, 2012 - Pets - 160 pages

The mysterious world beneath the ocean’s surface and its inhabitants have captivated humanity for centuries—the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and ancient Chinese all kept fish in their homes to observe and admire. But it was not until the nineteenth-century invention of the aquarium that the deep was truly domesticated, offering the curious a chance to create an indoor exotic sea world, in miniature.

In The Ocean at Home, Bernd Brunner traces the development of the aquarium from the Victorian era to the present day. Along the way, in this fascinating history, Brunner provides insight into the cultural and social circumstances that accompanied the aquarium’s swift rise in popularity. Brunner tells a compelling story of obsession, discovery, and delight—from the aquarium’s origin as a tool for scientific observation to the Victorian era’s elaborately decorated containers of curiosity, to the great public aquariums that are popular in cities around the world today.

Featuring more than 100 illustrations, this updated edition of The Ocean at Home offers a colorful and captivating look at how a Victorian obsession still enchants many today. Both the owner of a humble goldfish bowl and the dazzled spectator at major public aquariums will find The Ocean at Home an appealing and knowledgable guide to the aquatic worlds we create.

 

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Contents

Dive In
7
The Secret of the Ocean
11
Chambers Cabinets Cases
19
Pet Fish
23
Pioneers
27
The Propagandist
39
The Lake in the Grass
60
Aquarist Societies and Museums
70
The Typology of Parlour Aquariums
89
The Large Aquariums
105
11 From Aquarium to Oceanarium and Beyond
133
12 The Dark Underside of the Aquarium
139
Are Fish Really Meant to Be in a Box?
147
An Overview of Presentday Aquaria and Oceanaria
155
Select Bibliography
161
Acknowledgements
167

Diverging Beliefs
80

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About the author (2012)

Bernd Brunner is a Berlin-based writer. He has written extensively for television and print and is also the author of Bears: A Brief History and Moon: A Brief History.

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