Search results for: victorians-and-their-animals

Victorians and Their Animals

Author : Brenda Ayers
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This book, Victorians and Their Animals: Beast on a Leash, investigates the notion that British Victorians did see themselves as naturally dominant species over other humans and over animals. They conscientiously, hegemonically were determined to rule those beneath them and the animal within themselves albeit with varying degrees of success and failure. The articles in this collection apply posthuman and other theories, including queer, postcolonialism, deconstruction, and Marxism, in their exploration of Victorian attitudes toward animals. They study the biopolitical relationships between human and nonhuman animals in several key Victorian literary works. Some of this book’s chapters deal with animal ethics and moral aesthetics. Also being studied is the representation of animals in several Victorian novels as narrative devices to signify class status and gender dynamics, either to iterate socially acceptable mores or to satirize hypocrisy or breach of behavior or to voice social protest. All of the chapters analyse the interdependence of people and animals during the nineteenth century.

Victorian Animal Dreams

Author : Deborah Denenholz Morse
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The Victorian period witnessed the beginning of a debate on the status of animals that continues today. This volume explicitly acknowledges the way twenty-first-century deliberations about animal rights and the fact of past and prospective animal extinction haunt the discussion of the Victorians' obsession with animals. Combining close attention to historical detail with a sophisticated analytical framework, the contributors examine the various forms of human dominion over animals, including imaginative possession of animals in the realms of fiction, performance, and the visual arts, as well as physical control as manifest in hunting, killing, vivisection and zookeeping. The diverse range of topics, analyzed from a contemporary perspective, makes the volume a significant contribution to Victorian studies. The conclusion by Harriet Ritvo, the pre-eminent authority in the field of Victorian/animal studies, provides valuable insight into the burgeoning field of animal studies and points toward future studies of animals in the Victorian period.

Animals and Their Children in Victorian Culture

Author : Brenda Ayres
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Whether a secularized morality, biblical worldview, or unstated set of mores, the Victorian period can and always will be distinguished from those before and after for its pervasive sense of the "proper way" of thinking, speaking, doing, and acting. Animals in literature taught Victorian children how to be behave. If you are a postmodern posthumanist, you might argue, "But the animals in literature did not write their own accounts." Animal characters may be the creations of writers’ imagination, but animals did and do exist in their own right, as did and do humans. The original essays in Animals and Their Children in Victorian explore the representation of animals in children’s literature by resisting an anthropomorphized perception of them. Instead of focusing on the domestication of animals, this book analyzes how animals in literature "civilize" children, teaching them how to get along with fellow creatures—both human and nonhuman.

Wild Animal Skins in Victorian Britain

Author : Ann C. Colley
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What did the 13th Earl of Derby, his twenty-two-year-old niece, Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo, and even some ordinary laborers all have in common? All were avid collectors and exhibitors of exotic, and frequently unruly, specimens. In her study of Britain’s craze for natural history collecting, Ann C. Colley makes extensive use of archival materials to examine the challenges, preoccupations, and disordered circumstances that attended the amassing of specimens from faraway places only vaguely known to the British public. As scientific institutions sent collectors to bring back exotic animals and birds for study and classification by anatomists and zoologist, it soon became apparent that collecting skins rather than live animals or birds was a relatively more manageable endeavor. Colley looks at the collecting, exhibiting, and portraying of animal skins to show their importance as trophies of empire and representations of identity. While a zoo might display skins to promote and glorify Britain’s colonial achievements, Colley suggests that the reality of collecting was characterized more by chaos than imperial order. For example, Edward Lear’s commissioned illustrations of the Earl of Derby’s extensive collection challenge the colonial’s or collector’s commanding gaze, while the Victorian public demonstrated a yearning to connect with their own wildness by touching the skins of animals. Colley concludes with a discussion of the metaphorical uses of wild skins by Gerard Manley Hopkins and other writers, exploring the idea of skin as a locus of memory and touch where one’s past can be traced in the same way that nineteenth-century mapmakers charted a landscape. Throughout the book Colley calls upon recent theories about the nature and function of skin and touch to structure her discussion of the Victorian fascination with wild animal skins.

Beastly Possessions

Author : Sarah Amato
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In Beastly Possessions, Sarah Amato chronicles the unusual ways in which Victorians of every social class brought animals into their daily lives. Captured, bred, exhibited, collected, and sold, ordinary pets and exotic creatures – as well as their representations – became commodities within Victorian Britain's flourishing consumer culture. As a pet, an animal could be a companion, a living parlour decoration, and proof of a household's social and moral status. In the zoo, it could become a public pet, an object of curiosity, a symbol of empire, or even a consumer mascot. Either kind of animal might be painted, photographed, or stuffed as a taxidermic specimen. Using evidence ranging from pet-keeping manuals and scientific treatises to novels, guidebooks, and ephemera, this fascinating, well-illustrated study opens a window into an underexplored aspect of life in Victorian Britain.

The Invention of the Modern Dog

Author : Michael Worboys
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Connecting the emergence and development of certain dog breeds to both scientific understandings of race and blood as well as Britain’s posture in a global empire, The Invention of the Modern Dog demonstrates that studying dog breeding cultures allows historians to better understand the complex social relationships of late-nineteenth-century Britain.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Author : Sarah Amato
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This dissertation examines the place of animals in nineteenth-century British consumer culture, focusing on pet-keeping practices, zoological exhibitions, popular taxidermy and animals in literature. I show how Victorians interacted with animals in direct and tactile ways, often transforming them into objects of commerce. In the Victorian period, every aspect of the animal, including its capacity to breed, was offered for sale. As consumer goods, animals (alive or dead) could be bartered and exchanged, exhibited and represented. Pet animals were animate commodities and integrated into the routines of daily life; exotic beasts were taken from the wild and encountered across the bars of cages; dead animals were anatomized, sold, used as furniture and as scientific specimens; and creatures described in fiction were visualized and dramatized in abstract ways. These interactions with animals were important articulations of how Victorians understood their society and the forces which shaped it. The animals that were invited into the confines of Victorian society were assigned meanings redolent of major concerns regarding the maintenance of proper gender, social and racial hierarchies, as well as attitudes towards science and death. Relations with animals also exposed the seamy side of Victorian culture and were rife with anxieties. Animals, being feral and alive, rarely conformed to expectations, and even pet-keeping involved discipline and sometimes abuse. Struggles to control animals could undermine their symbolic potential and reveal the cracks and fissures of the Victorian worldview. In exploring Victorian relations with animals, this dissertation connects the histories of consumerism, sentiment, material culture and popular science, and contributes to scholarship on the social and cultural history of nineteenth-century Britain. Animals in nineteenth-century Britain inspired the imagination and bore directly on how Victorians understood their society and the times in which they lived.

Victorian Pets and Poetry

Author : Kevin Morrison
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Some of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era wrote—at times movingly or humorously—about their pets. They did so in a wider literary context, for poetry about pets was ubiquitous in the period. Animal welfare organizations utilized poems about canine and feline suffering in institutional publications to call attention to various abuses. Elegies and epitaphs over the loss of a beloved cat, songbird, or dog were printed on funeral cards, tombstones, and appeared in mass-produced poetry collections as well as those intended for an intimate circle of friends. Yet poems about pets, as well as attendant issues such as breeding and overpopulation, have not received the kind of critical analysis devoted to fictional works and short stories. With an introduction, afterword, and eight essays offering new perspectives on significant as well as lesser known poems, Victorian Pets and Poetry remedies this omission.

The Victorians and Their Flowers

Author : Nicolette Scourse
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Gothic Animals

Author : Ruth Heholt
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This book begins with the assumption that the presence of non-human creatures causes an always-already uncanny rift in human assumptions about reality. Exploring the dark side of animal nature and the ‘otherness’ of animals as viewed by humans, and employing cutting-edge theory on non-human animals, eco-criticism, literary and cultural theory, this book takes the Gothic genre into new territory. After the dissemination of Darwin’s theories of evolution, nineteenth-century fiction quickly picked up on the idea of the ‘animal within’. Here, the fear explored was of an unruly, defiant, degenerate and entirely amoral animality lying (mostly) dormant within all of us. However, non-humans and humans have other sorts of encounters, too, and even before Darwin, humans have often had an uneasy relationship with animals, which, as Donna Haraway puts it, have a way of ‘looking back’ at us. In this book, the focus is not on the ‘animal within’ but rather on the animal ‘with-out’: other and entirely incomprehensible.