Animals and humans

sensibility and representation, 1650-1820

Volume: 2017:04

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment

Volume Editors: Katherine M. Quinsey

Series Collaborators: James P. Carson, Kenyon College Sarah R. Cohen, SUNY Albany; Lucinda Cole, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Irene Fizer, Hofstra University; Anita Guerrini, Oregon State University; Ann A. Huse, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Anne Milne, University of Toronto Scarborough; Katherine M. Quinsey, University of Windsor, Ontario; Kathryn Ready, University of Winnipeg; Barbara K. Seeber, Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario; Rachel Swinkin, University of California, Davis; Denys Van Renen, University of Nebraska, Kearney.

Publication Date: 2017

Pages: 353

ISBN: 978-0-7294-1193-6

Price: £75


European culture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed a radical redefinition of ‘humanity’ and its place in the environment, together with a new understanding of animals and their relation to humans. In examining the dynamics of animal-human relations as embodied in the literature, art, farming practices, natural history, religion and philosophy of this period, leading experts explore the roots of much current thinking on interspecies morality and animal welfare.

The animal-human relationship challenged not only disciplinary boundaries – between poetry and science, art and animal husbandry, natural history and fiction – but also the basic assumptions of human intellectual and cultural activity, expression, and self-perception. This is specifically apparent in the re-evaluation of sentiment and sensibility, which constitutes a major theme of this chronologically organised volume. Authors engage with contemporary reactions to the commodification of animals during the period of British imperialism, tracing how eighteenth-century ecological consciousness and notions of animal identity and welfare emerged from earlier, traditional models of the cosmos, and reassessing late eighteenth-century poetic representations of the sentimental encounter with the animal other. They show how human experience was no longer viewed as an iterative process but as one continually shaped by the other. In concluding chapters authors highlight the political resonances of the animal-human relationship as it was used both to represent and to redress the injustices between humans as well as between humans and animals. Through a multifaceted study of eighteenth-century European culture, authors reveal how the animal presence – both real and imagined – forces a different reading not only of texts but also of society.

Katherine M. Quinsey, Introduction
Ann A. Huse, Edmund Waller’s whales: marine mammals and animal heroism in the early Atlantic
Lucinda Cole, Guns, ivory and elephant graveyards: the biopolitics of elephants’ teeth
Anita Guerrini, Animals and natural history in eighteenth-century France
Denys Van Renen, ‘A hollow Moan’: the contours of the non-human world in James Thomson’s The Seasons
James P. Carson, The great chain of being as an ecological idea
Kathryn Ready, John Aikin, Joseph Addison and two eighteenth-century Eastern tales of remembered metempsychosis
Katherine M. Quinsey, ‘Little Lives in Air’: animal sentience and sensibility in Pope
Rachel Swinkin, ‘No, helpless thing’: interspecies intimacy in the poetry of Burns and Barbauld
Sarah R. Cohen, Thomas Gainsborough’s sensible animals
Anne Milne, Animal actors: literary pedigrees and bloodlines in eighteenth-century animal breeding
Irene Fizer, ‘An egg dropped on the sand’: the natural history of female bastardy from Mark Catesby to Mary Wollstonecraft
Barbara K. Seeber, Animals and the country-house tradition in Mary Leapor’s ‘Crumble Hall’ and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
Biographies of contributors

Voltaire Foundation

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