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The Political Lives of Victorian Animals
Liberal Creatures in Literature and Culture


Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from September 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108492966

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • During the Victorian era, animals were increasingly viewed not as property or utility, but as thinking, feeling subjects worthy of inclusion within a political community. This book re-examines the nineteenth-century British animal welfare movement and animal characters in the Victorian novel in light of liberal thought, and argues that liberalism was a decisive factor in determining the cultural, ideological, and material makeup of animal-human relationships. While the animal welfare movement often represented animals as desiring submission to the human, animal characters in the Victorian novel critiqued the liberal norms that led to the oppression of both animals and humans. Through readings of animal rights legislation, animal welfare texts, and writings by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, and Olive Schreiner, Anna Feuerstein outlines the remarkably powerful political role that animals played in the Victorian novel, as they offer ways to move beyond the exclusionary and contradictory strategies of liberal thought.

    • Uses animal studies and posthuman theory to offer a new understanding of animals in Victorian literature and culture
    • Explores the relationship between the increase in anti-animal cruelty legislation and the wider liberal movement in the Victorian period
    • Challenges the efficacy of liberalism as a framework for animal rights and animal welfare
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108492966
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from September 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the political lives of Victorian animals
    Part I. Anti-Cruelty Legislation and Animal Welfare:
    1. The government of animals: anti-cruelty legislation and the making of liberal creatures
    2. The incessant care of the Victorian shepherd: animal welfare's pastoral power
    Part II. Democracy, Education, and Alternative Subjectivity:
    3. 'Tame submission to injustice is unworthy of a Raven': Charles Dickens's animal character
    4. Alice in Wonderland's animal pedagogy: democracy and alternative subjectivity in mid-Victorian liberal education
    Part III. The Biopolitics of Animal Capital:
    5. Animal capital and the lives of sheep: Thomas Hardy's biopolitical realism
    6. The political lives of animals in Victorian Empire: Oliver Schreiner's anti-colonial animal politics.

  • Author

    Anna Feuerstein, University of Hawaii, Manoa
    Anna Feuerstein is Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

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