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Privat, Jean-Marie

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Le Nouvel Observateur - France | 06/04/2006

Jean-Marie Privat and the mystery of dragons

Fabien Gruhier talked to ethnologist and litterature professor Jean-Marie Private about dragons, the theme of an exhibition at the Paris Museum of Natural History. "Dragons are like Santa Claus, we don't really know where they come from. Sure, there are allusions to creatures like Behemoth and the Leviathan in Greek mythology, the Bible and even as far back as the Epic of Gilgamesh. And the dragons that our saints fought against bear a strange resemblance to those from China, Indonesia, and Japan. But the origins of the monsters essentially remains shrouded in mystery. ... The dragon of myth, that winged hybrid with the piercing gaze, is neither a snake, nor a dinosaur, nor a Komodo dragon, but something completely different, and far more profoundly mysterious. It's a creature whose very force comes from the fact that it doesn't exist."

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