Humans and Beasts in Early Modern English Culture
By (author) Erica Fudge
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Perceiving Animals by Erica Fudge
Book DescriptionThe boundaries between human and beast forged a rugged philosophical landscape across early modern England. Spectators gathered in London's Bear Garden to watch the callous and brutal baiting of animals. A wave of 'new' scientists performed vivisections on live animals to learn more about the human body. In "Perceiving Animals", the British scholar Erica Fudge traces the dangers and problems of anthropocentrism in texts written from 1558 to 1649. Meticulous examinations of scientific, legal, political, literary, and religious writings offer unique and fascinating depictions of human perceptions about the natural world. Views carried over from bestiaries - medieval treatises on animals - posited animals as nonsentient beings whose merits were measured solely by what provisions they afforded humans: food, medicine, clothing, travel, labor, scientific knowledge. Without consciences or faith, animals were deemed far inferior to humans. While writings from the period asserted an enormous biological superiority, Fudge contends actual human behavior and logic worked, sometimes accidentally, to close the alleged gap. In the Bear Garden, even a man of the lowest social rank had power over a tortured animal, sinking him, though, below the beasts. The beast fable itself fails to show a true understanding of animals, as it merely attributes human characteristics to beasts in an attempt to teach humanist ideals. Scholars and writers continually turned to the animal world for reflection. Despite this, scientists of the period used animals for empirical and medical knowledge, recognizing biological and spiritual similarities but refusing to renege human superiority. Including an insightful reexamination of Ben Jonson's Volpone and fascinating looks at works by Francis Bacon, Edward Coke, and Richard Overton, among others, Fudge probes issues of animal ownership and biological and spiritual superiority in early modern England that resonate with philosophical quandaries still relevant in contemporary society.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780252070686
(5499mm x 3564mm x 19mm)
Imprint: University of Illinois Press
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publish Date: 1-Jan-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Erica Fudge
Pets, Paperback (August 2008)
Why do we live with pets? Is there something more to our relationship with them than simply companionship? This title explores the nature of this most complex of relationships and the difficulties of knowing what it is that one is living with when one chooses to share a home with an animal.
Brutal Reasoning, Hardback (October 2006)
Early modern English thinkers were fascinated by the subject of animal rationality, even before the appearance of Descartes's Discourse on the Method (1637) and its famous declaration of the automatism of animals. But as Erica Fudge relates in Brutal...
Renaissance Beasts, Hardback (January 2004)
Addresses and reassesses the variety of ways in which animals were used and thought about in Renaissance culture, challenging contemporary as well as historic views of the boundaries and hierarchies humans presume the natural world to contain.
Animal, Paperback (September 2002)» View all books by Erica Fudge
Animal is a timely overview of the many ways in which we live with animals. Examining novels such as Charlotte's Web, films such as Old Yeller and Babe, science and advertising, fashion and philosophy, the book evaluates the ways in which we think about animals and challenges a number of the assumptions we hold.
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