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Romanticism and Animal Rights
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056543 | ISBN-10: 0511056540)

In England in the second half of the eighteenth century an unprecedented amount of writing urged kindness to animals. This theme 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.

• Fascinating insight into attitudes to animals and their rights in the Romantic period • Casts light on the writings of major authors including Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats • Significant identification of Romantic affinities for our own ecological concern


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


'This is a welcome book … he not only provides the kind of scholarship that is necessary to inform the more general picture of animal studies, he also leaves plenty of scope for more detailed accounts of particular issues. What is more he does it through in an engagingly frank and clear approach to his reader.' Literature & History

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