Savages and Beasts
The Birth of the Modern Zoo
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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List of Illustrations
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I am especially indebted to Friedrich and Irmgard Andrae of Hamburg/Volksdorf, who provided me with a loving and welcoming home in Germany when I needed it desperately, and to Donald Fleming, who, as a dissertation advisor and as a friend, has shepherded this project along from its very earliest beginnings. Without their simply vital encouragement and support, not even the research for this book would...
Introduction: Entering the Gates
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In a slim book entitled Beobachtungen �ber die Psyche der Menschenaffen (Observations on the psyche of the great apes), published in 1908, the German zoologist Alexander Sokolowsky attempted to describe the psychological, intellectual, and emotional lives of gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. Convinced that the different anthropoid species...
Chapter 1: Gardens of History
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Centuries before the firm of Carl Hagenbeck came to dominate the trade and representation of exotic animals, unusual animals had been exhibited in major cities around the world. In order to understand the importance of Hagenbeck and his innovations, we must first look back at the...
Chapter 2: Catching Animals
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One of the most remarkable stories about the firm of Carl Hagenbeck—one to which we will return throughout the rest of this book—is Franz Kafka’s 1917 “A Report to an Academy.” In this short story, Kafka explores themes of captivity, freedom, and art through the voice of a “civilized ape.” The story is written as an address by the ape, Red...
Chapter 3: “Fabulous Animals”: Showing People
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Although the name Hagenbeck first became known among animal catchers, buyers, and other dealers, the name soon spread into the popular imagination of people around the world who flocked to see the results of his catches—the exotic animals and, initially more famous, the exotic peoples brought for exhibit in Europe. Indeed, despite the fact...
Chapter 4: Paradise
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What made Hagenbeck’s people shows such a success was their claim that they presented “exotic” people as they really were. In the construction of the often highly elaborate sets for these shows, for example, the company diligently sought to construct a convincingly realistic environment that would establish the authenticity of the exhibit. The...
Conclusion: When Animals Speak
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The story of Red Peter in Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy” is central to this book. Like most works in the animal story tradition, from Aesop’s fables and Apuleius’s Golden Ass to more modern stories by Swift and Orwell, “A Report to an Academy” is both about humans and about animals,...
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A Note on Sources
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In the library of the Milwaukee County Zoo, amid shelves and cabinets filled with scientific journals and the publications of other zoological gardens, there is one shelf with a few older-looking books. One of the volumes is Elisabeth Schulz’s Afrikanische Nächte: Erzählung (Hamburg: Zoo Verlag [Christoph Schulz], 1926), her semifictional account of her adventures catching animals with her husband, Christoph, in German East Africa before...
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 51 halftones, 1 line drawing
Publication Year: 2002
Series Title: Animals, History, Culture
Series Editor Byline: Harriet Ritvo, Series Editor