Chrysalis (Hardcover)

Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis

By Kim Todd

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780151011087, 336pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2007

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (12/3/2007)

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Before Darwin, before Audubon, there was Merian. An artist turned naturalist known for her botanical illustrations, she was born just sixteen years after Galileo proclaimed that the earth orbited the sun. But at the age of fifty she sailed from Europe to the New World on a solo scientific expedition to study insect metamorphosis--an unheard-of journey for any naturalist at that time, much less a woman. When she returned she produced a book that secured her reputation, only to have it savaged in the nineteenth century by scientists who disdained the work of "amateurs." Exquisitely written and illustrated, " Chrysalis" takes us from golden-age Amsterdam to the Surinam tropics to modern laboratories where Merian's insights fuel a new branch of biology. Kim Todd brings to life a seventeenth-century woman whose boldness and vision would still be exceptional today.

Praise For Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis


"You really can't fool Mother Nature, as Kim Todd vividly shows in her fascinating, cautionary first book."--The New York Times Book Review

"Todd uncovers a Greek tragedy of human heedlessness . . . [A] beautifully written natural history."--Outside