Exploring the significance of animals in Romantic-period writing, this new study shows how in this period they were seen as both newly different from humankind (subjects in their own right, rather than simply humanity's tools or adjuncts) and also as newly similar, with the ability to feel and perhaps to think like human beings. Approaches to animals are reviewed in a wide range of the period's literary work (in particular, that of Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Southey, Clare and Blake). Poetry and other literary work are discussed in relation to discourses about animals in various contemporary cultural contexts, including children's books, parliamentary debates, vegetarian theses, encyclopaedias and early theories about evolution. The study introduces animals to the discussions about ecocriticism and environmentalism in Romantic-period writing by complicating the concept of 'Nature', and it also contributes to the debates about politics and the body in this period. It demonstrates the rich variety of thinking about animals in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, and it challenges the exclusion of literary writing from some recent multi-disciplinary debates about animals, by exploring the literary roots of many metaphors about and attitudes to animals in our current thinking. Kindred Brutes constitutes a genuinely original and substantial contribution both to Romantic-period writing and to general debates about animals and the body.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: ’Animals are good to think with’; Animals dead and alive: pets, and politics poetry in the Romantic period; Children’s animals: Locke, Rousseau, Coleridge and the instruction/imagination debate; Political animals: bull-fighting, bull-baiting and Childe Harold I; Animals as food: Shelley, Byron and the ideology of eating; Animals and nature: beasts, birds and Wordsworth’s ecological credentials; Evolutionary animals: science and imagination between the Darwins; In conclusion: animals then and now; Index.
’An indispensable work of scholarship on the cultural, political, scientific, social, and literary responses to the animal in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Byronists will discover that the noble lord had many things to say on this subject. A pleasure to read.’ Charles E. Robinson, Professor of English, University of Delaware; Executive Director, The Byron Society of America ’Christine Kenyon-Jones has found a genuinely new area of interest within the much-studied field of early nineteenth-century English poetry. This elegantly written study intersects in all sorts of interesting ways with other recent work -- on Romanticism and ecology, on questions of gender and the body, nature and nurture, and so forth -- whilst continuously maintaining its distinctiveness of voice and focus. Throughout the book, and especially when attention is fixed on Lord Byron, fascinating material is discussed in a lively and informed manner.’ Jonathan Bate, Leverhulme Research Professor & King Alfred Professor, University of Liverpool '... makes an important contribution to our understanding of the Romantic period.' European Romantic Review