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Animal Stories

Animal Stories: Narrating across Species Lines

Susan McHugh
Series: Posthumanities
Volume: 15
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Animal Stories
    Book Description:

    Animal Stories argues that key creative developments in narrative form became inseparable from shifts in animal politics and science in the past century. Susan McHugh traces representational patterns specific to modern and contemporary fictions of cross-species companionship through a variety of media to show how nothing less than the futures of all species life is at stake in narrative forms.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7698-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction Animal Narratives and Social Agency
    (pp. 1-24)

    A century ago, Irish novelist George Moore addressed the troubled history of the English novel—a “hackney,” in pointed contrast to its thoroughbred Russian and French counterparts—in a series of imaginary conversations with Edmund Gosse in which literary animals prove much more than mere metaphors.¹ Arguing that the so-called great English novels of the eighteenth century “lack intimacy of thought and feeling,” Moore points to a profound absence: “No one sits by the fire and thinks what his or her past has been and welcomes the approach of a familiar bird or animal. I do not remember any dog...

  5. Part I. Intersubjective Fictions

    • Chapter 1 Seeing Eyes/Private Eyes: Service Dogs and Detective Fictions
      (pp. 27-64)

      Several urban american dog people have shared with me a peculiar passing fantasy of disability. They imagine equipping themselves with dark glasses and their pet dogs with harnesses in order to enjoy universal access to public transportation, restaurants, and parks otherwise forbidden to their canine companions. One asked, “Who would stop me?”¹

      The problems with this kind of imagining are legion. Not the least is how it demonstrates just plain ignorance of the difficulties faced by guide-dog users, who are often barred entry to public places even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) supposedly now guarantees their right of...

    • Chapter 2 Velvet Revolutions: Girl–Horse Stories
      (pp. 65-112)

      Slike abc’s release ofBlind Justice, media conglomerate NBC’s decision to air segments of the 2008 Olympic equestrian games in prime time was a first for television, also one that found most enthusiastic support within a small community defined by rare historic achievements. Since the twentieth-century reinvention of the Olympics, modern dressage, show jumping, and cross-country jumping—combined in the sport of eventing—have emerged as the only international athletic competitions in which women and men are allowed to compete on equal terms. Understandably appalled by dwindling coverage of these sports in recent years, fans cheered NBC’s apparent reversal of...

  6. Part II. Intercorporeal Narratives

    • Chapter 3 Breeding Narratives of Intimacy: Shaggy Dogs, Shagging Sheep
      (pp. 115-162)

      Would he or wouldn’t he? The question hovered over comedian Drew Carey’s first performance on the weekday programThe Price Is Rightin place of Bob Barker, a prominent animal activist who retired in 2007 as the longestrunning daytime game-show host in North American television history. The answer came at the very end, when Carey turned to the camera and repeated (as he continues to do) Barker’s closing mantra, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered!”

      This media moment highlights the capricious ties between the intersubjective ideals and embodied realities of cross-species companionship. In a country...

    • Chapter 4 The Fictions and Futures of Farm Animals: Semi-Living to “Animalacra” Pig Tales
      (pp. 163-210)

      “How much of an animal has there to be for it to be a dead animal?” asks anthropologist Garry Marvin on the subject of taxidermy, and such a question also applies to the modern experience of meat.¹ Well-meaning people may eschew terms such as “meat animals” and “farm animals” because they reduce forms of life to a use value. But such moves also help to empty out the histories of livestock husbandry conditioning the lives of companion species, and so intensify the evacuation of any sense of agency of all life forms in volved in meat production, including that of...

  7. Conclusion Toward a Narrative Ethology
    (pp. 211-220)

    At the beginning of the video documentary (a companion to her 1999 memoir of the same title)Reason for Hope, primatology superstar Jane Goodall pokes fun at how a particular set of novels influenced her. Recalling how she loved reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan novels as a child, she opines that she “hated” his Jane, then says what her fans have always known: “I’d have been a better mate for him.” One of her signature moves, appealing to a stereotype at the same time that she successfully manipulates it, Goodall’s story here is as much about the work of storytelling...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 221-258)
  9. Index
    (pp. 259-280)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)