Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective

Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective


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Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective by Joan B. Landes

Gorgeous Beasts takes a fresh look at the place of animals in history and art. Refusing the traditional subordination of animals to humans, the essays gathered here examine a rich variety of ways animals contribute to culture: as living things, as scientific specimens, as food, weapons, tropes, and occasions for thought and creativity. History and culture set the terms for this inquiry. As history changes, so do the ways animals participate in culture. Gorgeous Beasts offers a series of discontinuous but probing studies of the forms their participation takes.

This collection presents the work of a wide range of scholars, critics, and thinkers from diverse disciplines: philosophy, literature, history, geography, economics, art history, cultural studies, and the visual arts. By approaching animals from such different perspectives, these essays broaden the scope of animal studies to include specialists and nonspecialists alike, inviting readers from all backgrounds to consider the place of animals in history and art. Combining provocative critical insights with arresting visual imagery, Gorgeous Beasts advances a challenging new appreciation of animals as co-inhabitants and co-creators of culture.

Aside from the editors, the contributors are Dean Bavington, Ron Broglio, Mark Dion, Erica Fudge, Cecilia Novero, Harriet Ritvo, Nigel Rothfels, Sajay Samuel, and Pierre Serna.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271054025
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 09/24/2012
Series: Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures , #2
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Joan B. Landes is Walter L. and Helen Ferree Professor of Early Modern History and Women’s Studies at The Pennsylvania State University.

Paula Young Lee is an independent scholar and the editor of Meat, Modernity, and the Rise of the Slaughterhouse (2008).

Paul Youngquist is Professor of English at the University of Colorado.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations



Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist

1 Animal Subjects: Between Nature and Invention in Buffon’s Natural History Illustrations

Joan B. Landes

2 Renaissance Animal Things

Erica Fudge

3 The Cujo Effect

Paul Youngquist

4 On Vulnerability: Studies from Life That Ought Not to Be Copied

Ron Broglio

5 The Rights of Man and the Rights of Animality at the End of the Eighteenth Century

Pierre Serna

Translated by Vito Caiati and Joan B. Landes

6 Calling the Wild

Harriet Ritvo

7 Trophies and Taxidermy

Nigel Rothfels

8 Fishing for Biomass

Sajay Samuel and Dean Bavington

9 Daniel Spoerri’s Carnival of Animals

Cecilia Novero

A Conversation with the Artist Mark Dion

Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee, and Paul Youngquist


About the Contributors


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