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Ecology, the animal turn and sheep in poetry

Sheep have been closely associated with humans for at least 10,000 years, but despite their ubiquity and association with agro-pastoral cultural landscapes, they are poorly represented in both poetry and in critical readings of pastoral texts. This book addresses that omission by applying concepts from the still emerging field of animal studies to an ecologically focused reading of poetry referencing sheep. The distinction between wild and domesticated species is called into question, with particular attention to Tim Ingold’s ideas about how hunters and pastoralists differ in the relations they have with animals. Pastoral literature is compared with what pastoralism means in agriculture and how it can produce landscapes with a high nature value. Poetry from the upland sheep-farming areas of western Britain is read from the viewpoint of the animal turn. The sheep-breeding practices of Dorset and Devon are explored through the poetry of Ted Hughes and Kay Syrad. Sheep and sheep keeping have been heavily involved in emigration of people, sheep and agricultural practice to the settler colonies, so readings of a small selection of poems from the USA and New Zealand are included to open the important topic of postcolonial reading of sheep poetry. The final chapter opens the question of whether sheep and poets have a future as the crisis deepens. The book makes a contribution to the literature of animal studies and ends with the question of whether the ethical case for a vegan lifestyle and low emissions means that the whole species is destined for extinction.

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How animals shaped Georgian London

This book reveals the extraordinary contribution which horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs made to London, the world’s first modern metropolis, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as the huge challenges which they posed. By the early 1800s, an estimated 31,000 horses were at work in and around the city, while a similar number of sheep and cattle were driven through its streets every week. No other settlement in Europe or North America had ever accommodated so many large four-legged animals, or felt their influence so profoundly. Following in their hoof- and paw-prints, this book offers a panoramic new perspective on Georgian London, challenging orthodox assumptions about its role in the agricultural, consumer and industrial revolutions, as well as reappraising key aspects of the city’s culture, social relations and physical development. In doing so, it argues for non-human animal agency and its integration into social and urban history. Moving away from the philosophical, fictional and humanitarian sources which have dominated English animal studies, this book focuses on evidence of tangible, dung-bespattered interactions between real people and animals drawn from legal, parish, commercial, newspaper and private records. As a result, it offers new insights into the lived experiences of Georgian Londoners, as well as the character and everyday workings of their city.

Zoographic Ambivalences in Mantegazza, Ouida, and Vernon Lee
Nicoletta Pireddu

In the framework of contemporary ecocritical theories, this comparative analysis of works by Paolo Mantegazza, Ouida, and Vernon Lee focuses on the conflictual relationship of proximity and differentiation at stake in the human-animal distinction in a post-Darwinian context dominated by the rise of experimental sciences. A discussion of vivisection and animal taming prompted by anthropocentric works as Fisiologia del dolore and Upilio Faimali in tension with proanimal essays by Ouida and Lee shows how the animal, caught between pure inert materiality and idealization, emerges as an intrinsic lack that the human fills with contending rational, utilitarian, moral, and affective motivations.

Gothic Studies
Literary discussions on nature, culture and science
Author: Silvia Granata

This book explores the vogue for home aquaria that spread through Great Britain around the middle of the nineteenth century. The marine tank, perfected and commercialised in the early 1850s, was advertised as a marvel of modernity, a source of endless entertainment and a tool providing useful and edifying knowledge; it was meant to surprise, bringing a profoundly unfamiliar experience right to the heart of the home and providing a vista on the submarine world, at the time still largely unknown. Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, this book offers an example of how the study of a specific object can be used to address a broad spectrum of issues: the Victorian home tank became in fact a site of intersection between scientific, technological, and cultural trends; it engaged with issues of class, gender, nationality and inter-species relations, drawing together home décor and ideals of domesticity, travel and tourism, exciting discoveries in marine biology, and emerging tensions between competing views of science; due to the close connection between tank keeping and seaside studies, it also marked an important moment in the development of a burgeoning environmental awareness. Through the analysis of a wide range of sources, including aquarium manuals, articles in the periodical press and fictional works, The Victorian aquarium unearths the historical significance of a resonant object, arguing that, for Victorians, the home tank was both a mirror and a window: it opened views on the underwater world, while reflecting the knowledge, assumptions, and preoccupations of its owners.

Andrew Smith

contribution that recent work in animal studies can make to our rethinking about the Gothic at the end of the nineteenth century will be explored in depth in an account of Dracula (1897), but first it is important to observe how these critical self-reflections are manifested in images of readers and writers that pervade the fin de siècle Gothic text. Gothic readers in the Gothic Towards the end of Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan (1894) we encounter an eye-witness account of the death of Helen Vaughan

in Interventions
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Thomas Almeroth-Williams

. While, for instance, several scholars have discussed the ill-​treatment of horses, there has been scant analysis of the economic significance of equine haulage, its impact on the construction and use of metropolitan space, or the challenges of commanding equine behaviour. Part of the problem has been that animal studies relating to England from 1500 to 1900 have tended to rely on theoretical sources, particularly philosophical and religious works; natural histories and Romantic literature.17 Many of those who produced this commentary viewed urban life from afar or had

in City of beasts
Andrew Patrizio

‘Three slender things that best support the world: the slender stream of milk from the cow’s dug into the pail; the slender blade of green corn upon the ground; the slender thread over the hand of a skilled woman.’ (from The Triads of Ireland, c . ninth century) ‘A honeybee meadow is something very different from a human meadow.’ (Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth , 2008) Visualising the zoosphere Animal studies (particularly ‘critical animal studies’, which I draw most on here

in The ecological eye
Open Access (free)
Studies in intimacy

Featuring essays from some of the most prominent voices in early medieval English studies, Dating Beowulf: studies in intimacy playfully redeploys the word ‘dating’, which usually heralds some of the most divisive critical impasses in the field, to provocatively phrase a set of new relationships with an Old English poem. This volume presents an argument for the relevance of the early Middle Ages to affect studies and vice versa, while offering a riposte to anti-feminist discourse and opening avenues for future work by specialists in the history of emotions, feminist criticism, literary theory, Old English literature, and medieval studies alike. To this end, the chapters embody a range of critical approaches, from queer theory to animal studies and ecocriticism to Actor-Network theory, all organized into clusters that articulate new modes of intimacy with the poem.

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Gender, modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

Women of War is an examination of gender modernity using the world’s longest established women’s military organisation, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, as a case study. Formed in 1907 and still active today, the Corps was the first to adopt khaki uniform, prepare for war service, staff a regimental first aid post near the front line and drive officially for the British army in France. It was the only British unit whose members were sworn in as soldiers of the Belgian army, and it was the most decorated women’s corps of the First World War. Bringing both public and personal representations into dialogue through an analysis of newspaper articles, ephemera, memoirs, diaries, letters, interviews, photographs and poetry, this book sits at the crossroads of British, social, gender and women’s history, drawing upon the diverse fields of military history, animal studies, trans studies, dress history, sociology of the professions, nursing history and transport history. It reconstructs the organisation’s formation, its adoption of martial clothing, increased professionalisation, and wartime activities of first aid and driving, focusing specifically upon the significance of gender modernity. While the FANY embodied the New Woman, challenging the limits of convention and pushing back the boundaries of the behavour, dress and role considered appropriate for women, the book argues that the Corps was simultaneously deeply conservative, upholding imperial, unionist and antifeminist values. That it was a complex mix of progressive and conservative elements, both conformist and reformist, gets to the heart of the fascinating complexity surrounding the organisation.

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William Welstead

In this book I set out to explore the scope for adding an animal studies perspective to ecocriticism and then to apply these combined perspectives to poetry about sheep. The main emphasis has been on contemporary poetry, but I have included selected works from the canon to explore the genealogy of poetic styles and to place a new emphasis on sheep in reading these works. Despite over 10,000 years of co-evolution between humans and sheep, this species is under-represented in poetry, particularly when compared with the high output of works and

in Writing on sheep