Ape, Man, Apeman: Changing Views since 1600:
Evaluative Proceedings of a Symposium at Leiden, 28 June - 1 July 1993

Raymond Corbey + Bert Theunissen (editors)

Department of Prehistory, Leiden University 1995
A book review by Danny Yee © 1995 http://dannyreviews.com/
Ape, Man, Apeman is a collection of thirty two papers from a conference held at Leiden in 1993. It covers a broad range of topics, with authors drawn from a number of different disciplines, but the basic subject is different views of apes and of the relationship between humanity and apes. The papers are divided into four sections: the first on pre-evolutionary perceptions of apes in Western Europe (with one paper on classical Islamic views); the second on more recent ideas about human origins and near-human ancestors; the third on ethnozoological and literary perspectives on apes; and the fourth on the ethical questions raised by our relationship with the great apes.

I expected to find only a minority of the papers interesting enough to read in full, but ended up reading more than half of them (five were inaccessible to me, being in French). Although some of the papers have a very narrow focus, the collection as a whole covers such a range that its likely audience is hard to limit: it will certainly include paleoanthropologists and primatologists interested in the historical and philosophical background of their disciplines, cultural anthropologists and ethnozoologists, ethicists, and anyone interested in the history of ideas. Some of the papers cover subjects on which very little has been written, so for some specialists Ape, Man, Apeman will be an essential reference. The collection is much better put together than most conference proceedings, with uniform formatting, meticulous editing, effective illustrations and an attractive overall appearance; the only thing it lacks is an index. All told this is an impressive volume, and one that deserves to be widely known.

February 1995

Related reviews:
- Raymond Corbey - Studying Human Origins: Disciplinary History and Epistemology
- more history of ideas
- more primates + paleoanthropology
%T Ape, Man, Apeman: Changing Views since 1600
%S Evaluative Proceedings of a Symposium at Leiden, 28 June - 1 July 1993
%E Corbey, Raymond
%E Theunissen, Bert
%I Department of Prehistory, Leiden University
%D 1995
%O paperback, b&w photos, bibliographies
%G ISBN 9073368057
%P 405pp