Romanticism and Animal Rights

Overview

In England in the second half of the eighteenth century an unprecedented amount of writing urged kindness to animals. This these was carried in many genres, from sermons to encyclopedias, from scientific works to literature for children, and in the poetry of Cowper, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Clare, and others. Romanticism and Animal Rights discusses the arguments writers used, and the particular meanings of these arguments in a social and economic context so different from the present. After introductory chapters, ...
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Overview

In England in the second half of the eighteenth century an unprecedented amount of writing urged kindness to animals. This these was carried in many genres, from sermons to encyclopedias, from scientific works to literature for children, and in the poetry of Cowper, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Clare, and others. Romanticism and Animal Rights discusses the arguments writers used, and the particular meanings of these arguments in a social and economic context so different from the present. After introductory chapters, the material is divided according to specific practices that particularly influenced feeling or aroused protest: pet keeping, hunting, baiting, working animals, eating them, and the various harms inflicted on wild birds. The book shows how extensively English Romantic writing took up issues of what we now call animal rights. In this respect it joins the growing number of studies that seek precedents or affinities in English Romanticism for our own ecological concerns.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Perkins is so steeped in the poetry, novels, philosophy, and sermons of the 18th and early 19th centuries—and he writes with such clarity, verve, and commonsense on a subject often befogged by violent passions—that this volume can be recommended with confidence to anyone interested in the long and bitter controversies over animal rights.... [The] concluding biographical essay will be immensely helpful to those interested in pursuing the suprisingly extensive writings on the subject, and the index is a model of its kind. Highly recommended." Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521045988
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism Series , #58
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

David Perkins is Marquand Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of nine books including The Quest for Permanence, Wordsworth and the Poetry of Sincerity, English Romantic Writers, A History of Modern Poetry, and Is Literary History Possible?

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 In the beginning of animal rights 1
2 Grounds of argument 20
3 Keeping pets: William Cowper and his hares 44
4 Barbarian pleasures: against hunting 64
5 Savage amusements of the poor: John Clare's badger sonnets 89
6 Work animals, slaves, servants: Coleridge's young ass 104
7 The slaughterhouse and the kitchen: Charles Lamb's "Dissertation upon Roast Pig" 116
8 Caged birds and wild 130
Notes 148
Bibliographical essay 175
Index 182
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