Insects as Inspiration


Metaphors in Literature and the Social Sciences

Insects, insect societies, and insect behavior have provided inspiration to writers in many fields outside of the natural sciences. They serve as metaphor for writers of fiction, creatures of interest to poets and historians, and models for psychologists and sociologists. Many people are aware of Kafka’s insect in Metamorphosis and Nabokov’s interest in butterflies, but there is a surprising body of literature, both poetry and prose, that use the insect as focus, symbol, or model. Many academic disciplines find fascination with this large group of small organisms.

The materials in this case represent a few of the many materials in the Library’s collection that link the insect species to disciplines outside of the biology and ecology studies that one might expect.