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Chapter 3 - Eighteenth Century

Enlightenment and Empire

from Part I - Literary Periods

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2023

Derek Ryan
Affiliation:
University of Kent, Canterbury
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Summary

Exchanges between Eastern and Western cultures were central to representations of human-animal relations in the eighteenth century. When in 1713 Alexander Pope published an essay against cruelty to animals, he observed how “Everyone knows how remarkable the Turks are for their Humanity in this kind.” This chapter explains how feeling for fellow creatures was coupled in English minds with Eastern – Ottoman and Arab as well as Persian and Indian – compassion for them. Derived from mercantile, scholarly, and scientific exchanges; travelers’ tales; and widely circulating translations of Eastern beast fables, what Srinivas Aravamudan calls “Enlightenment Orientalism” is examined in relation to a contemporary Ottoman representation of animals, the natural history and storytelling of Evliya Çelebi (1611–c. 1687). It also considers such texts as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Pope’s Windsor-Forest and Essay on Man, James Thomson’s The Seasons, and Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne. These texts present different versions of multiple species of animal kind as “peoples” in the sense of the Qur’anic verse, explicated by Sarra Tlili, that ‘”there is not an animal in the earth nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are people like you.”

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Eighteenth Century
  • Edited by Derek Ryan, University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009300032.005
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  • Eighteenth Century
  • Edited by Derek Ryan, University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009300032.005
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Eighteenth Century
  • Edited by Derek Ryan, University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009300032.005
Available formats
×