Catland: Feline Enchantment and the Making of the Modern World (Hardback)
  • Catland: Feline Enchantment and the Making of the Modern World (Hardback)
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Catland: Feline Enchantment and the Making of the Modern World (Hardback)

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Hardback 416 Pages
Published: 25/04/2024
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Waterstones Says

A must-own for any fan of felines, Hughes' captivating volume recounts the astonishing story of the Edwardian artist whose anthropomorphic images of cats ushered in a subversive age.

Some called it a craze. To others it was a cult. Join prize-winning historian Kathryn Hughes to discover how Britain fell in love with cats and ushered in a new era.

‘He invented a whole cat world’ declared H. G. Wells of Louis Wain, the Edwardian artist whose anthropomorphic kittens made him a household name. His drawings were irresistible but Catland was more than the creation of one eccentric imagination. It was an attitude – a way of being in society while discreetly refusing to follow its rules.

As cat capitalism boomed in the spectacular Edwardian age, prized animals changed hands for hundreds of pounds and a new industry sprung up to cater for their every need. Cats were no longer basement-dwelling pest-controllers, but stylish cultural subversives, more likely to flaunt a magnificent ruff and a pedigree from Persia. Wherever you found old conventions breaking down, there was a cat at the centre of the storm.

Whether they were flying aeroplanes, sipping champagne or arguing about politics, Wain’s feline cast offered a sly take on the restless and risky culture of the post-Victorian world. No-one experienced these uncertainties more acutely than Wain himself, confined to a mental asylum while creating his most iconic work. Catland is a fascinating and fabulous unravelling of our obsession with cats, and the man dedicated to chronicling them.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008365103
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 40 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'A darting, hobby-horsical, hugely interesting book with the feel of a passion project rather than a sobersides work of history. But its ease and authority come from how Hughes as a historian is completely at home in the era under discussion, offering feline sideways glances at class, economics, urbanisation, eugenics, gender politics and much else besides' Guardian 'Hughes' excellent, curiosity-stuffed book is about the moment towards the end of the 19th century when cats started to be afforded the same dignity as dogs’ Spectator 'Kathryn Hughes is one of our best loved and most incisively witty social historians … brilliantly researched and unforgettable' Miranda Seymour ‘Hughes has a brilliant eye for absurdities and untold stories. This isn’t a gushing ode to pussycats but a wide-ranging history of a period of huge upheaval' i News ‘Cat lovers, and even the cat-indifferent, are encouraged to put their trust in Hughes. Catland is a delight. This is history as told by someone whose knowledge of and infectious enthusiasm for her subject is matched by obvious delight and warm, expressive writing’ New York Times ‘Catland is a one-off, a book of high whimsy and deep research, a work of great subtly that is also startlingly original. Part-biography, part-social history, Catland is its own breed of historical investigation. Kathryn Hughes shows us not how we see ourselves, or even how we see our cats, but how we see ourselves in our cats, for better or worse’ Amanda Foreman ‘What’s most delightful about Catland is how cleverly it explores so many corners of society. In the life and work of this peculiar illustrator, Hughes manages to open up a fresh venue on our “magnificent cultural obsession”’ Washington Post

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