University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-61149-673-4 • Hardback • November 2017 • $111.00 • (£85.00)
978-1-61149-674-1 • eBook • November 2017 • $99.50 • (£77.00)
John Morillo is associate professor of English at North Carolina State University.
Introduction: British Animal Discourse between Cartesian and Darwinian Bookends
Chapter One: On the Posthuman Character of Cavendish’s Fantastic Hyphenated Creatures
Chapter Two: Cultured Children and the Natural World: Problems with Animal Sympathy in Lessons for the Rising Generation of Readers, 1730-1800
Chapter Three: Anglican Clerics and Animal Clemency, 1675-1792
Chapter Four: Cowper’s Creatures: The Orpheus of Olney and His “Symptoms of Either Sex”
Chapter Five: The Other Darwin: Posthumanism’s Dignified Pantomime, Eleusinian Mysteries of Evolution, and the Descent of Man in Erasmus Darwin’s Temple of Nature
About the Author
Morillo’s volume represents an important step forward in the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of animal studies. Also author of Uneasy Feelings: Literature, the Passions, and Class from Neoclassicism to Romanticism (2001), Morillo (English, North Carolina State Univ.) describes how various writers from the Restoration through the long 18th century used a range of forms—from fiction and poetry, to sermons and other clerical writings, to children’s literature and natural history—to refute Descartes’s view of animals as soulless automatons, in so doing anticipating a post-humanist position in many respects. The range and breadth of the texts under discussion make this volume a useful complement to other recent critical work in this field, such as Heather Keenleyside’s excellent Animals and Other People: Literary Forms and Living Beings in the Long Eighteenth Century (CH, Jun'17, 54-4611), which focuses more squarely on canonical literature. Particularly impressive is Morillo’s treatment of William Cowper’s The Task (1785) and Erasmus Darwin’s epic poem The Temple of Nature (1803). The book is challenging, but Morillo’s clear prose and helpful analysis of the philosophical and critical contexts serve the subject well.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
— Choice Reviews