So attached was the author Patricia Highsmith to snails that they became her constant travelling companions. Often hidden in a large handbag, they provided her with comfort and companionship in what she perceived to be a hostile world. Theirs was perhaps an unusual relationship; for most of us the tentacled snail with his sticky trail might be a delicious treat served up in garlic butter but certainly not an affectionate pet. As well, for many a gardener, opinions on the snail and slug (which is a just a snail without a shell) have been shaped by the harm they inflict on vegetable plants and seedlings. With Snail, Peter Williams wishes to change our perspectives on this little but much-maligned creature.
Beginning with an overview of our relationship with snails, slugs, and sea snails,
Williams moves on to examine snail evolution; snail behavior and habitat; snails as food, medicine, and the source of useful chemicals and dyes; snail shells as collectible objects; and snails in literature, art, and popular culture. Finally, in this appreciative account of the snail, Williams offers a plea for a reconsideration of the snail as a dignified, ancient creature that deserves our respect.
Containing beautiful illustrations and written in an approachable, informal style, Snail will help readers get beyond the shell and slime to discover the fascinating creature inside.