Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

Between the fifteenth century and the eighteenth, a great extinction took place. Unlike the later wave of extinction that would sweep away species after native species in Africa, the Americas, Australia, and above all the islands of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, this earlier extinction was one of the mind. It did not wipe out living creatures, but rather relegated to the realms of pure fantasy a rich...

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1. From Satyr to Pongo: Discovering the Red Ape

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pp. 10-29

In 1641, the Dutch anatomist Nicolaes Tulp published a book with the bland title Observationes Medicæ (Medical Observations). Tulp is best known now for his depiction in Rembrandt’s celebrated painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, in which the doctor is shown explaining the features of a human cadaver to an audience of students. Tulp’s real-life interests, however, extended beyond human anatomy...

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2. “A More than Animal Intelligence”: Exploring the Species Boundary

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pp. 30-57

Although the Linnaean system proposed that species could be distinguished from one another by their physical characteristics alone, the striking exception that Linnaeus himself made for humans—exhorting them to know their own character—hinted at another way of defining humanity. Linnaeus’ instruction could be read in several ways. In Classical and medieval times, the maxim...

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3. Wanted Dead or Alive: Orangutans on Display

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pp. 58-84

In the eighteenth century, European elites began to develop an appetite for natural history collection. Kings and queens, princes and dukes, doctors and merchants, accumulated so-called cabinets of curiosities, some from the natural world (naturalia), some made by humans (artificalia). In the same spirit, a smaller number of wealthy or powerful individuals maintained menageries of exotic animals, often...

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4. Darkest Borneo, Savage Sumatra

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pp. 85-106

The orangutans presented to Western audiences throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were creatures detached from their natural habitat both literally and symbolically. Linnaean classification and comparative anatomy paid as little attention to where an animal came from as they did to its behavior. The earliest carers for captive orangutans in Europe, apart from trying to keep their charges...

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5. Imagining Orangutans: Fictions, Fantasies, Futures

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pp. 107-127

During the eighteenth century, the orangutan began to appear in plays and novels, and later in short stories. Most of the early authors had not seen an orangutan, even in captivity, but the writings of travelers such as Beeckman and of scientists such as Tyson were so widely circulated, the illustrations of Bontius and Tulp so often redrawn, and public displays of orangutan-like creatures so common that a...

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6. Close Encounters and Dangerous Liaisons

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pp. 128-155

The fictional orangutans discussed in chapter 5 offer commentary on Western society, either by directly addressing a human audience or by behaving in ways that highlight human shortcomings. Most of these apes have been removed from their original environment, and even Boulle’s advanced apes live in a world that is functionally similar to the human world of the twentieth century rather than...

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7. Monkey Business: Orangutans on Stage and Screen

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pp. 156-184

On March 16, 1825, a young French “character dancer” known simply as Mazurier created a buzz among Paris audiences with his beguiling simian antics in a balletdrama that was to become one of the most influential stage pieces of its time: Jocko, ou le singe du Brésil.1 Although set in Brazil, well away from the known habitat of any great ape, the drama appears to have drawn substantially on existing representations...

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8. Zoo Stories: Becoming Animals, Unbecoming Humans

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pp. 185-208

Ideas of human responsibility for animals, along with debates over the ethics of their captivity, began to shape the orangutan’s appearances in zoos more than a century ago, albeit in a more limited range of ways than is evident in fiction or film. By the early 1900s, innovative zoo directors were attempting to present exotic animals in more humane, quasi-natural contexts rather than in bare cages. This...

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9. On the Edge: Conservation and the Threat of Extinction

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pp. 209-231

The orangutan’s decline toward extinction began several thousand years ago, well before the start of human history. The red ape’s dwindling in numbers is underpinned by basic features of the animal’s biology. As with all apes, the natural reproduction rate of orangutans is slow.1 Females do not normally give birth before they are fifteen years old, and they typically have no more than four offspring in...

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10. Faces in the Mirror: Evolution, Intelligence, and Rights

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pp. 232-247

For four centuries, the West has been fascinated by the orangutan. So similar to humans, yet with so many differences, the red ape has challenged us to think about the nature of humanity and the character of human relationships with the animal world. As knowledge of the orangutan has developed, and as scientific understanding of biological processes has grown, the specific challenge presented by...

Afterword

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pp. 248-250

Notes

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pp. 251-278

Bibliography

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pp. 279-306

Index

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pp. 307-323

About the Authors, Production Notes, Back Cover

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