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The Political Lives of Victorian Animals
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Book description

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.


'This well-written, theoretically sophisticated study makes a major contribution to the growing body of critical treatments of animals in Victorian literature and culture.'

R. D. Morrison Source: Choice

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