The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck

1 IT is not my intention to write a treatise on apiculture, or on practical bee-keeping. Excellent works of the kind abound in all civilised countries, and it were useless to attempt another. France has those of Dadant, Georges de Layens and Bonnier, Bertrand, Hamet, Weber, Clement, the Abbe Collin, etc. English-speaking countries have Langstroth, Bevan, Cook, Cheshire, Cowan, Root, etc. Germany has Dzierzon, Van Berlespoch, Pollmann, Vogel, and many others. Nor is this book to be a scientific monograph on Apis Mellifica, Ligustica, Fasciata, Dorsata, etc., or a collection of new observations and studies. I shall say scarcely anything that those will not know who are somewhat familiar with bees. The notes and experiments I have made during my twenty years of beekeeping I shall reserve for a more technical work; for their interest is necessarily of a special and limited nature, and I am anxious not to over-burden this essay. I wish to speak of the bees very simply, as one speaks of a subject one knows and loves to those who know it not. I do not intend to adorn the truth, or merit the just reproach Reaumur addressed to his predecessors in the study of our honey-flies, whom he accused of substituting for the marvellous reality marvels that were imaginary and merely plausible. The fact that the hive contains so much that is wonderful does not warrant our seeking to add to its wonders. Besides, I myself have now for a long time ceased to look for anything more beautiful in this world, or more interesting, than the truth; or at least than the effort one is able to make towards the truth. I shall state nothing, therefore, that I have not verified myself, or that is not so fully accepted in the text-books as to render further verification superfluous. My facts shall be as accurate as though they appeared in a practical manual or scientific monograph, but I shall relate them in a somewhat livelier fashion than such works would allow, shall group them more harmoniously together, and blend them with freer and more mature reflections. The reader of this book will not learn therefrom how to manage a hive; but he will know more or less all that can with any certainty be known of the curious, profound, and intimate side of its inhabitants. Nor will this be at the cost of what still remains to be learned. I shall pass over in silence the hoary traditions that, in the country and many a book, still constitute the legend of the hive. Whenever there be doubt, disagreement, hypothesis, when I arrive at the unknown, I shall declare it loyally; you will find that we often shall halt before the unknown. Beyond the appreciable facts of their life we know but little of the bees. And the closer our acquaintance becomes, the nearer is our ignorance brought to us of the depths of their real existence; but such ignorance is better than the other kind, which is unconscious, and satisfied.

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The 417th greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - The New York Public Library's Books of the Century (New York Public Library)

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Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The life of bees: The most fascinating and mysterious aspects of nature in an unforgettable essay. Kindle Edition 416514 $3.99 2021
The Life of the Bee Hardcover 1528226 $16.99 $24.21 2020
His Masterpiece Paperback 8168583 $7.48 2013
His Masterpiece Paperback 12033891 $18.60 $10.05 2008
The swarm, from The life of the bee Kindle Edition 4445013 2017
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The Life Of The Bee Kindle Edition 893992 2004
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The Children's Life of the Bee Paperback 2992613 $4.95 $9.49 2013
The Children's Life of the Bee Hardcover 8222612 $30.74 $30.68 2015
By Maurice Maeterlinck La vida de las abejas/ The Life of the Bee (Spanish Edition) (Tra) [Paperback] Paperback 13194353 $29.04 2005
La vida de las abejas/ The Life of the Bee (Spanish Edition) Paperback 3980213 $12.67 2005
The Life of the Bee Paperback 4575615 $17.25 2020
The Children's life of the bee Hardcover 9739293 $952.95 $41.54
The Life of the Bee Paperback 9840067 $6.99 $4.25 2012
HIS MASTERPIECE [Annotated] Kindle Edition 1232732 2016
His Masterpiece by Emile Zola, Fiction, Literary, Classics Hardcover 1404085 $29.57 $29.51 2007
His Masterpiece Paperback 2159137 $8.95 2017
His Masterpiece by Emile Zola - Delphi Classics (Illustrated) (Delphi Parts Edition (Emile Zola) Book 19) Kindle Edition 1923642 2018
The Children's Life of the Bee (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press) Paperback 6654059 $12.11 $6.00 2008