Planet Beehive~by Freya Mathews | Culture Collapse Disorder |

Honeybees have long excited the interest of philosophers and natural historians. In ancient times tracts on them were written by Aristotle, Aristomachus, Cato, Varro, Pliny, Palladius and Virgil, and in the early modern period scientific studies began with Jan Swammerdam, who combined scientific method with piety in his Bible of Nature (1737), Réaumur who devoted a volume to honeybees in his Notes to Serve for a History of Insects and François Huber, who did not allow his own physiological blindness to hamper his New Observations of Bees (1789) (Maeterlinck). For ardour, however, no one could surpass Maurice Maeterlinck, whose Life of the Bee (1901), probably the most famous of all treatises on the honeybee, suffuses the idea of the bee with nostalgia for Edenic vistas of fruit- and flower-laden domestic abundance and tranquillity.


Let us pause with Maeterlinck for a moment and savour the way, for him, the image of the beehive conjures orderliness, virtue, peacefulness and a pervasive honeyed sweetness that perhaps reflects.... (click title for more)