The Accommodated Animal: Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales (Paperback)
  • The Accommodated Animal: Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales (Paperback)
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The Accommodated Animal: Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales (Paperback)

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£22.50
Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 04/01/2013
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Shakespeare wrote of lions, shrews, horned toads, curs, mastiffs, and hell-hounds. But he used the word "animal" only eight times in his work - which was typical for the sixteenth century, when the word was rarely used. As Laurie Shannon reveals in "The Accommodated Animal", the animal-human divide first came strongly into play in the seventeenth century, with Descartes' famous formulation that reason sets humans above other species: "I think, therefore I am." Before that moment, animals could claim a firmer place alongside humans in a larger vision of belonging, or what Shannon terms cosmopolity. With Shakespeare as her touch-stone, Shannon explores the creaturely dispensation that existed until Descartes. She finds that early modern writers used classical natural history and readings of "Genesis" to credit animals with various kinds of stakeholdership, prerogative, and entitlement, employing the language of politics in a constitutional vision of cosmic membership. Using this political idiom to frame cross-species relations, Shannon argues, carried with it the notion that animals possess their own investments in the world, a point distinct from the question of whether animals have reason. It also enabled a sharp critique of the tyranny of humankind. By answering "the question of the animal" historically, "The Accommodated Animal" makes a brilliant contribution to cross-disciplinary debates engaging political theory, intellectual history, and literary studies.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226924175
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Writing with undeniable meticulousness and care, Shannon undertakes to weave together an incredibly broad range of dense subject matter, from philosophy and ethics to history, literature, myth, and science. . . . Readable and engaging. . . . Highly recommended."
--Choice
"In this wonderfully written and deeply researched book, Laurie Shannon unearths in early modern culture what teems beneath the generic designation, 'animal, ' to which we have become accustomed over the past four hundred years: a wild and woolly 'zoography' of fish and fowl, 'beasts' and 'brutes, ' nonhuman agents and four-footed actors, all cheek to jowl with human beings as 'fellow-commoners' in a trans-species polity, where questions of sovereignty, tyranny, and justice bear directly upon how we treat nonhuman beings. Ranging across legal, literary, philosophical, theological, and scientific texts, The Accommodated Animal finds posthumanism very much alive and well, avant la lettre, in the early modern period's soul-searching attempts to secure our place among the remarkable variety of life that challenges our most cherished and self-flattering biases about the human animal."--Cary Wolfe, Rice University
"With striking fluency and originality, Shannon sets out to retrieve from the long sixteenth century an all-inclusive model, lost to modernity, by which the world was consigned to all living creatures. . . . There is exacting precision and strong logic, to be sure, but there is also a happy way with words. It is what makes her Herculean labors look easy."
--Shakespeare Quarterly
"This big, beautiful, growling, howling book is as revelatory about language as it is about the natural history of our animal kinships: the 'curtailed' dog, the 'sovereignties' of motion, and the 'race' of locomotive animals invite us to encounter familiar words on all fours, our phantom tails and impotent noses newly alert to semantic climate changes."
--Julia Reinhard Lupton "Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 "
"Beautifully written and carefully researched. . . . Offers brilliant readings."
--Renaissance and Reformation
"Brilliant. . . . With inexorable logic and playful wit, Shannon makes the case for animals' role in defining concepts of justice, tyranny, and sovereignty in early modern Europe. . . . Shannon's work should be required reading for anyone interested in early modern animals, animal studies, or posthumanist theory; but it will also greatly influence analyses of Shakespeare, and will introduce readers to a number of regrettably overlooked texts like Baldwin's or Gelli's. . . . It advances the field significantly."
--Renaissance Quarterly
"An ambitious and piercing study of the status of animals in early modern culture. . . . Situates Shakespeare in a larger . . . discourse that intertwines history, philosophy and literature."
--Memoria di Shakespeare

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