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Unicorn Mirror: A Compendium of Unicorn Lore

Introduction: The Ethereal Glimpsing of a Unicorn

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.” – The Last Unicorn, by Peter. S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn by Dana Alink

Beagle’s depiction of the unicorn is spellbinding. It brings into light an image of an ethereal unknown, of mysterious wonder and mesmerizing beauty. Ultimately, the unicorn is a secretive creature of magical power, of unending youth that many unconsciously desire to obtain for themselves, for who does not long to live in youthful splendor and health for all eternity? Those who try to capture this untouchable, allusive creature are often times faced with trials of great danger and, more often than not, fail in the endeavor.

The unicorn might harken one back to their youth, of innocent joy and curious wonder. Akin to Jacques Lacan’s “imaginary order,” of returning to a moment in time when we were wholly contented and one with our mother, of being unconditionally loved and the joy that brought us. Perhaps, if we were to behold a unicorn, we could obtain that unconscious desire of the “imaginary order,” to return to when the world revolved solely around us and be accepted unconditionally. Might one look back on their youth and recall a happier time and ever give chase? Or, what of the ability to escape our world, away from the issues that haunt us? Unicorns might also serve as a gateway into magical worlds.

Unicorn Cloud by Unknown Artist

But, I believe, what ultimately draws us to the beast is the idea of the impossible becoming real. Fiction transforming into reality. The unicorn whispers our dreams and we try and capture our keenest desires, only to find them elusive. As many long to catch a glimpse of this intangible dream, we imagine the wraith-like beast awaiting in some distant forest, wanting to be found. For perhaps if we were to catch a glimpse of it, our souls could be enchanted to quiet content.

What Exactly Is A Unicorn?

“A unicorn is nothing more than a big horse that comes to a point, anyway. Nothing to get so excited about.” – The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett

Touched By The Aurora by Kirk ReinertUnicorns are, often times, portrayed as a pure white, delicately limbed horse or deer-like entity with a long flowing mane and tail. Britannica defines the unicorn as:

“Unicorn, a mythological animal resembling a horse or a kid [deer] with a single horn on its forehead.”

Oxford Dictionary defines the unicorn as:

“A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.”


“A mythical, usually white animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead.” Or: “An animal mentioned in the Bible that is usually considered an aurochs, a one-horned rhinoceros, or an antelope.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, they are dark, foreboding and dangerous. If one were to go on Google Images right now and type in “dark unicorn,” an array of sinister horses with heads decorated with skulls, bones strewed about their hooves, manes and eyes aglow with fire would greet the eye. Whatever the creature is depicted in fiction or in pop culture it is defined by the central ideal of being nearly untouchable, ethereal, allusive and profoundly mythical. Mythical, as defined in the Collins English Dictionary as:

“Something or someone that is mythical exists only in myths and is therefore imaginary.”

Thus, the unicorn’s main image is that of an unreal, horse-like creature with a horn in the middle of its head. Of course, how this whole image of the unicorn came into existence and evolved through time will be detailed.

The Firebringer by MNat (portrait)However, as already mentioned above, unicorns have never remained in the constraints of this central imagery. Within Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Firebringer Trilogy, the unicorn takes on a colorful spectrum and a ferocious nature for battle. Also, let us not forget that some unicorns are depicted with angelic or bat-like wings, with a beard sprouting from their chins, a tasseled-tail, cleft hooves, or malicious fangs emerging from its muzzle. Still, the feature that stands as the pinnacle to the unicorn is its horn, or alicorn (Latin for “horn of a unicorn”), either spiraling or not, and many scholar argued whether the horn was black or ivory white.

And what about the transformative nature the unicorn sometimes adopts? In Peter. S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, the last unicorn on Earth is transformed into a woman. Or the deceptive nature as it appears as a regular white stallion or mare to the untrained eye? This might lead to some who, when they see a regular horse, imagine it is a unicorn hiding in plain sight.

But how in the world could something as pure or as malevolent be derived from the lumbering rhinoceros?

Origins of the Unicorn

“Hooves whispering in the scented grass, the unicorns lined up under the Crystal Arch, ears alert, tails high, manes waving gently in the light breeze. Their horns shone and their glossy coats gleamed in the tender light of the fresh morning. There were hundreds of unicorns, one for each of all the colors of the Celestial Valley and all the worlds above and below it. Each unicorn made a separate part of the rainbow, from the violet Atalanta herself to the crimson Rednal of the Fiery Coals.” – Road to Balinor, Mary Stanton

So, how can this wonderous image of a unicorn, a white horse with a spiraled horn, hold its origins in the Indian rhinoceros? The first “known sighting” of a unicorn is from explorer’s accounts from India to the Greek physician Ctesias, who wrote of the “unicorn” in his evocative Indica:

“There are in India certain wild asses which are as large as horses, and larger. Their bodies are white, their heads dark red, and their eyes dark blue. They have a horn on the forehead which is about a foot and a half in length.” – Indica by Ctesias, Greek physician (5th Century B.C.)

Indian Unicorn by NorthWing

Unlike Cornelius Tactitus’s severe, critical viewpoint of the Gothic tribes in his Germania, Ctesias account does not come-off as crude or judgmental, but simply factual. While one hopes that Ctesias’ account of a rhino ostensibly mirrored the eyes of the person who beheld it, one can come to understand the awe Ctesias was probably in when he received the account of this wonderous new discovery. The traveler, no doubt, in the re-telling is brought back to the sight of it. Perhaps standing knee-deep in a lake dancing in waterlilies, while a rhino treads through the water but a span before them; its horn bejeweled in beads of water, its body rippling with muscular force, its ears flickering to catch a murmur of danger…

Unicorn by Antonio J. ManzanedoOf course, when the rhino was depicted before Ctesias, he must have had difficulty in not imaging the creature to a similar depiction of something he was familiar with: the likeness of a horse. And if Ctesias had gone ahead and described this creature to his colleagues, not as a plundering plump rhino, but a dangerously graceful steed, who could blame him? Granted, this is all speculation on how the unicorn came to be viewed as a horse with a singular horn sprouting from its head, but it must be stated.

Although, the unicorn’s physiology has not solely been drawn from the Indian rhinoceros, but is also believed to be drawn from the other animals as well across many different regions and cultures. The unicorn, for whatever the populace could associate the likeness too, could had borrowed from their familiar four-legged, singular-horned beast to understand the anatomy of the creature. To give shape from the wildly exotic tales. This viewpoint is supported by Chris Lavers, Associate Professor of Ecology and Biogeography at the University of Nottingham, who wrote The Natural History of the Unicorn:

“…[i]n other words, perhaps descriptions of the creature became not more imaginative over time, but more accurate, more sensible, more reflective of the animals and landscapes that gave birth to the myth in the first place…”

A Glance at Unicorns Through the Ages

“That sense of loss grew within the hearts of the humans who had been left behind, left to live without unicorns. Even the ones who had never seen a unicorn, felt the passing of something sweet and wonderful. It was as if the air had surrendered a bit of its spice, the water a bit of its sparkle, the night a bit of its mystery.” – Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville

The unicorn has been claimed to be depicted as far back as the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, where many had viewed the sacred winged bulls as a unicorn. But when did unicorns first appear in art or literature, and what was a “real” unicorn to the ancients? Many civilizations depicted unicorns as rhinoceros, saola, aurochs, oryx or narwhals. Even Marco Polo wrote of the unicorn, describing it more akin to the rhino than the pure white steeds we envision today.

Winged Auroch from Wall of Shush castle

“Unicornis the Unicorn, which is also called Rhinoceros by the Greeks, is of the following nature.

He is very small animal like a kid, excessively swift, with one horn in the middle of his forehead, and no hunter can catch him. But he can be trapped by the following stratagem.

A virgin girl is led to where he lurks, and there she is sent off by herself in the wood. He soon leaps into her lap when he sees her, and embraces her, and hence he gets caught.” A Source in Medieval Science, edited by Edward Grant

A Unicorn, English, dated about 1250 - 1260

This particular depiction harkens one back to the times of the Middle Ages, when the unicorn had become a representation of a holy union. From the academic article “An Interpretation of the Unicorn” by Elmer G. Suhr, the unicorn had represented a union of Jesus Christ and God:

“Like so many other animals, mythical or otherwise, it has been the subject of a number of allegorical interpretations, the most important being religious: it stands for the union of Christ with the Father.”

Opposite of this “holy union,” in modern times the unicorn, or the term itself, has come to represent a rarity: a billion-dollar startup company.

In 77-79 C.E. the Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, wrote about the unicorn (called “licorn” or “monocerous”) in his Natural History as having a “deep lowing” voice and describes the horn as “blacke”:

“But the most fell and furious beast of all other, is the Licorne or Monoceros: his bodie resembleth an horse, his head a stagge, his feet an Elephant, his taile a bore; he loweth after an hideous manner; one blacke horn he hath in the mids of his forehead, bearing out two cubits in length: by report, this wild beast cannot possibly be caught alive.”

Monoceros from The Ashmole Bestiary, Folio 21rThe Greek philosopher Aristotle (who was critical of Ctesias account on the unicorn) was also fascinated by the creature, stating in his The History of Animals (4th century B.C.) that the unicorn is an “Indian ass” but did agree with Ctesias that it had “solid hooves,” aligning with the Greek’s assertations on the creatures ankle bone, the “astragalus,” which was not commonly found in other animals and distinguished them from goats or sheep, who had “artiodactyls,” having forked hooves.

Lastly, Claudius Aelian, a Roman sophist and priest, described the unicorn or “cartazonus” in his account of “facts”, De Natura Animaalium, On the Nature of Animals/On the Characteristics of Animals. While Ctesias received reports of the sighting of the unicorn from travelers, and Aristotle adapted the unicorn into a closed-toed animal akin to an ass, Aelian drew heavily from Ctesias’ accounts by describing the creature as “asses” with “a single horn”:

“India produces horses with one horn, they say, and the same country fosters asses with a single horn. And from these horns they make drinking-vessels, and if anyone puts a deadly poison in them and a man drinks, the plot will do him no harm. For it seems that the horn both of the horse and of the ass is antidote to poison.”

Qilin from Qing dynasty, mid 18th centuryBesides the accounts of the unicorn from ancient scholars, unicorn lore originates from other lands as well. China called the unicorn a Qilin (Kirin in Japanese), a chimera beast with early references dating as far back as the 5th century in the The Zuo Tradition. Later, in the Ming dynasty, the Kirin took on the imagery of the giraffe instead of the horse-esque of its European cousin. Although, the Kirin resembles a dragon more than a giraffe or horse and is actually depicted as having two horns.

In the mountains of Yemen in Arabia, the Tahish is a unicorn with a unique horn: it is a 36-inch long piece of hair. Besides the unique “horn,” the unicorn has a “lion’s tail” and fangs protruding from the corners of his mouth and is immune to weapons used against it. While being disturbingly “Draculaesque,” and frightful, the Tahish grants immunity and omniscience in battle and is respectful to virgins and people who hold moral values.

The unicorn of South America, the camahueto of Chile, resembles a bull more than a rhino or horse. The horn was used to cure disease and, when taken from the camahueto by an machis (healer) and planted into the earth, would cause a huge rift as new camahueto’s would burst forth and race out to sea, destroying everything in their wake.

camahueto by Unknown Artist

In a more factual sense, fairly recently the skull of the Siberian rhinoceros (Elasmotherium sibiricu, meaning “plated beast” in Greek) was discovered in Kazakhstan, Central Asia that drastically changed the original period this “unicorn” original existed. Originally thought to have roamed some 350,000 years ago, the discovered remains date back to 29,000 years ago. The “real unicorn” had a large, thick horn on its forehead, granting it the sole bearer of the term (since todays rhinoceros often times has two horns). Discovered in Russia and named by Johann Fischer von Valheim, the Giant Siberian Unicorn was an herbivore and its horn was used, not as protection, but to attract mates with its size. Suppose if the entire breadth of the world’s lore could be founded on this one creature, the Kirin, Tahish, camahueto really that of the ancient Siberian rhinoceros?

The Unicorn Tapestries

The Unicorn is in Captivity and No Longer DeadPrincipal to the depiction of the unicorn is its likeness on the ancient tapestries of Europe: The Hunt of the Unicorn and The Lady with the Unicorn. Both tapestries were created in the Middle Ages with the South Netherland’s The Hunt of the Unicorn (1495-1505 CE) tapestries debated to have been made for Anne of Brittany to celebrate her marriage with King Louis XII (although this is widely speculated by many scholars). The Hunt, which includes seven tapestries and one piece being fragmented into two pieces, depict a narrative of the unicorn being hunted through scenes made of wool, silver, silk and gilt wefts and is one of the few whole pieces that survive from that era.

The tapestries order, however, is debatable and scrutinized by many. In About the Sequence of the Tapestries in “The Hunt of the Unicorn” and “The Lady with the Unicorn,” Helmut Nickel explores the order of how both tapestries are to be hung or arranged, stating that, in comparison to a stag hunt, the logical order of The Hunt should be as follows: “The Unicorn at the Fountain, The Unicorn Defends Himself, The Unicorn is Tamed by the Maiden, The Unicorn Tries to Escape, and The Unicorn Is Killed and Brought to the Castle.” While The Lady with the Unicorn (approximately 1505 C.E.) is a display of the five senses: Sight, Hearing, Touch/Desire (debated to be either), Touch, Taste and Smell. Also, it is debated that the Touch banners might had been switched depending on the space available to hang them.

Interesting enough The Hunt is debated to be an allegory of pagan and Christian themes. The Christian narrating the unicorn itself as a Passion of Christ, of Jesus’ life, death on the cross and resurrection as well as the relationship between Christ and the Virgin Mary (the cherry trees in The Start of the Hunt, were thought to have signified Mary as she and Joseph walked towards Bethlehem and it happened to bloom). Pagan-wise, it is of charmed lovers, with the representation of the cherry instead depicting love or lust, since in a lot of medieval artwork the tree stood in scenes of lovemaking.

The Lady and the Unicorn - My only desire

The Lady tapestries are believed to have been created for the Le Viste family, of France. Their name is archaic for vite, meaning swift, and could had been embodied in the imagery of the unicorn as a fast runner and taken as its coat of arms. Interestingly enough, the family had not received an official coat of arms. Also, the family was derived of civil servants originally from Lyons, so depictions of the low-ranking double-tailed standards throughout the piece are thought to be a snub to the higher-ranking families or a humble reflection of their origins.

Magical Attributes of the Mystical Beast

“But is the unicorn a falsehood? It’s the sweetest of animals and a noble symbol. It stands for Christ and for chastity; it can be captured only by setting a virgin in the forest, so that the animal, catching her most chaste odor, will go and lay its head in her lap, offering itself as prey to the hunters’ snares.”

“So it is said, Adso. But many tend to believe that it’s a fable, an invention of the pagans.”

“What a disappointment,” I said. “I would have liked to encounter one, crossing a wood. Otherwise what’s the pleasure of crossing a wood?” – The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

Since medieval times, it was thought that the only way to capture a unicorn was by taking a virgin into the forest, leaving her there, and waiting for the unicorn to lay its head in her lap, signaling submission and the hunter’s chance to impale it with their hunting spears. If I were a unicorn, I hope I would have a means of defending myself against the barbarism of the men, purity of the virgin be damned. Thus, a unicorn’s most viable means of defense is its horn. Forget the fact that the horn was thought to had represented the union of Christ and God, for if that horn was coming at me like a lance, I would make a run for it. Imagine Noah trying to keep the unicorn from entering his Ark, only to have the unicorn threaten him with its horn?

The Unicorn, 1607

Yet, while the unicorn has a physical arsenal of weapons at its disposal, such as its horn, teeth and hooves to defend itself, magic granted the unicorn powers to make it a truly formidable being. In Pierce’s The Firebringer Trilogy, the unicorn’s arsenal is their physical prowess and strength and yet a few are capable of healing. Aside from the physical intimidation in Pierce’s Firebringer the unicorn in other fictional works uses its magic in a less violent manner. In Madleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the flying unicorn is able to carry the protagonist through time. In J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the unicorn is able to heal anyone near death with the use of its blood.

Ultimately, healing is the pinnacle of the unicorn’s magical abilities, since many had believed that the unicorn was capable of mending the wounded and curing the ill. In one of the earliest cases of “unicorn healing” in Europe, Hildegarde of Bingen, had claimed that the skin of the unicorn could remedy one suffering from fever. Also, boots from the skin of the unicorn could give one immunity to the plague.

The Alicorn (Horn)

I stood in the Maytime meadows
By roses circled round
Where many a fragile blossom
Was bright upon the ground;

And as though the roses called them
And their wild hearts understood,
The little birds were singing
In the shadows of the wood.

The nightingale among them
Sang sweet and loud and long,
Until a greater voice than hers
Rang out above her song.

For suddenly between the crags,
Along a narrow vale
The echoes of a hunting horn,
Came clear along the gale.

The hunter stood beside me
Who blew that mighty horn,
I saw that he was hunting
The noble unicorn.

The unicorn is noble;
He keeps him safe and high
Upon a narrow path and steep
Climbing to the sky;

And there no man can take him;
He scorns the hunter’s dart
And only a virgin’s magic power
Shall tame his haughty heart.

What would be now the state of us
But for this Unicorn,
And what would be the fate of us,
Poor sinners, lost, forlorn?

Oh, may He lead us on and up,
Unworthy though we be,
Into His Father’s kingdom,
To dwell eternally!

– Volkslied, a medieval German folk song

Of course, the unicorn would not be a unicorn without the one element adorning its forehead: the horn or alicorn. The alicorn can come in many shapes, sizes, materials and colors. In C. S. Lewis’ Narnia, the unicorn’s horn is an “ice blue” color, while others have either a “gold” or “bone” hue. The most ancient account of the unicorn’s horn coloring is that of Pliny and Aelian, who designated the horn as “black” which, curiously, would make sense since the unicorn was imagined from that of a rhinoceros. Later, the common consensus was either white or an aged ivory coloring. Profiles of the alicorn can be the simple straight, smooth to the traditional spiral. Also, the horn itself was not always believed to be a stationary entity, that the horn could shift on their forehead. In Odell Shephard’s Lore of the Unicorn, it is stated that Aristotle claimed the unicorn “raise and lower its horns at will.”

Unicorn by Jonas MedhusUses for the unicorn’s horn ranges in a wide array, from alchemic medicine to purifying water. French barber Ambroise Paré (1582) claimed that, if one were to dip the unicorn horn into water and then draw a circle around a frog or spider, the creatures would rather die than exit the ring of water. Sections of Charles the Bold’s sword was believed to be made out of unicorn horn. The Russian czar Ivan the Terrible had a staff made of alicorn.

Besides mankind utilizing the horn to their will, the unicorn itself was claimed to be capable of purifying water with its horn, causing many noblemen to decorate their drinking cups with the alicorn. Also, it was thought that at the base of a unicorn’s horn was a precious ruby called a carbuncle. This is narrated in the story of Alexander, as the conqueror receives a gift from Queen Candace:

“I had from this rich queen
A beast of proud and noble mien
That bears in his brow the ruby-stone
And yields himself to maids alone.
But few such unicorns are found
On this or any other ground,

And only such are ever captured
As stainless virgins have enraptured.
No man of woman born
Endures the terror of his horn.”

Pfeffen Lamprecht

Narwhal by AlixBranwynUltimately, the unicorn horn was determined to be that of the narwhale’s upper left canine tooth. For ages the “unicorn horn” was sold by the Vikings, who had kept the fantasy alive until the 16th century.

Even Queen Elizabeth payed a substantial sum for one. Known today as the Horn of Windsor, it was a part of the Crown Jewels and had cost the matriarch a substantial sum of £10,000 in 1598.

Of course, the alicorn was debunked by Danish zoologist Ole Worm, who had journeyed to the arctic and discovered the whales for himself. However, British doctors still prescribed “unicorn horn” until as late as 1749.

Unicorn’s in Popular Fiction and Pop-Culture

Dark Unicorn by Antonio J. Manzanedo“Then suddenly a creature appeared before me, a wraith come from the mists of the predawn night…It was a unicorn, Ben, so dark that it seemed to absorb the white moon’s light as a sponge would absorb water. It was a unicorn, but something more. It was not white as the unicorns of old, but ink black. It barred my passage, its horn lowered, hooves pawing at the earth. Its slender body seemed to twist and change shape, and I saw it was more demon than unicorn, more devil than fairy. It was blind in the manner of the great marsh bulls, and it had their fury. It came for me, and I ran. I knew, somehow, that I must not let it touch me—that if it were to touch me I was lost. I was quick, but the black unicorn followed close behind. It wanted me. It meant to have me.” – The Black Unicorn, Terry Brooks

Today unicorns are found everywhere in our culture. Within media there’s the golden unicorn charm on Pam’s necklace in the hit show The Office. There is a popular YouTube video series called Charlie the Unicorn. Film wise there’s the 1980s Legends, Disney’s Fantasia, 1982’s Bladerunner or the current craze of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony. Besides film and tv series, unicorns abound in popular video games, such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Red Dead Redemption or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. For novels there’s the unicorn in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, to an alien “unicorn-girl” in Anne McCaffrey’s, Margaret Ball’s and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s Acorna series. Aside from the popular books or series, I remember buying The Jewel Kingdom: The Emerald Princess Follows a Unicorn by Jahnna N. Malcolm from the Scholastic Book Fair and begging my older brother to read it to me. Also, I cannot fail to mention the photography artist Robert Vavra, who has “photographed” the mystical creatures throughout his career (if you have not seen his work before you should do yourself a favor and look it up before continuing).

At the moment, if you were to walk into a Books-A-Million you would probably find a section of merchandised products solely dedicated to unicorns (from mugs and notebooks to stuffed toys). I dare you to go into your local store and not be able to find a unicorn stuffed animal or figure in the toy section. The adorable cute GUND Pusheenicorn plush is guarding my bookshelf from bookwyrms as we speak.


Besides exciting toys how about consumables: cupcakes, pizzas, unicorn-horned candies, toast, Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, Bang’s energy drink “Rainbow Unicorn” and Kellogg’s recent cereals: the limited edition “Unicorn” and Lucky Charms marshmallows in the shape of a unicorn’s head. Perhaps if I were to consume enough of this unicorn cornucopia I would turn into a unicorn?

Unicorn by Lisa FrankLastly, how about the 90s Lisa Frank school products of colorful unicorns leaping over rainbows and soaring through star-streaked skies? Or are you one of the countless collectors of Tokidoki’s unicorn figurines? Unicorns definitely abound in our culture and it’s hard to dodge them unless you wanted to lock yourself away in a cave like a troll, living out the rest of your life in isolation.

Moving towards a more personal front, while growing up as a child I adored unicorns, so much so that my entire bedroom at one point was decorated with them. The 1982 animated film of a unicorn hunting for her lost kind stands as the zenith of unicorn films (in my own particular opinion) and I can still remember glimpsing it on my babysitter’s movie shelf and asking to watch it. In middle school I finally obtained a copy of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, and now prefer reading it over watching the film. I feel that Beagle does a wonderful job of embodying the “wonder” of the unknown in the form of the unicorn and the dangers everyone feels at times of embarking into the unknown.

Lost Princess by Vincent Tanguay

I hope that you stuck with this article because you enjoyed unicorns as much as I do. Whether you have but a passing curiosity for the singularly horned creatures, or you have adored them since your first steps, one cannot argue that many have been fascinated with the creatures for centuries. And, if you truly believe that they really do exist, go on and chase them. Perhaps someday you might find yourself before a sun-kissed pond and spy a unicorn within its watery mirror?

“Now I will believe that there are unicorns.” – The Tempest, William Shakespeare.

Works Cited

  • Bigwood, J. M. “Ctesias’ ‘Indica’ and Photius.” Phoenix, vol. 43, no. 4, 1989, pp. 302–316. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1088298.
  • Bonner, John Tyler. “The Horn of the Unicorn.” Scientific American, vol. 184, no. 3, 1951, pp. 42–43., www.jstor.org/stable/24945116.
  • Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Longman, 2011.
  • Lavers, Chris. The Natural History of Unicorns. Harper Perennial, 2010.
  • Muñiz, Angelina, and Lois Parkinson Zamora. “On the Unicorn.” Mississippi Review, vol. 13, no. 1/2, 1984, pp. 101–105. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20134015.
  • Nickel, Helmut. “About the Sequence of the Tapestries in ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ and ‘The Lady with the Unicorn.’” Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 17, 1982, pp. 9–14. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1512782.
  • Tagliatesta, Francesca. “Iconography of the Unicorn from India to the Italian Middle Ages.” East and West, vol. 57, no. 1/4, 2007, pp. 175–191. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/29757727.
  • Thone, Frank. “Unicorn No Longer Fabulous; Biologist Has Produced One.” The Science News-Letter, vol. 29, no. 788, 1936, pp. 312–313. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3912325.
  • VOSS, A. E. “PURSUIT OF THE UNICORN.” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, no. 53, 1979, pp. 1–19. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24247680.

Title image by Michael Hague.



  1. Avatar Richard Marpole says:

    Beautiful and well researched article. I learned a thing or two. Nice one!

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