Narrating across Species Lines
Publication Year: 2011
McHugh’s investigations into fictions of people relying on animals in civic and professional life—most obviously those of service animal users and female professional horse riders—showcase distinctly modern and human–animal forms of intersubjectivity. But increasingly graphic violence directed at these figures indicates their ambivalent significance to changing configurations of species.
Reading these developments with narrative adaptations of traditional companion species relations during this period— queer pet memoirs and farm animal fictions—McHugh clarifies the intercorporeal intimacies—the perforations of species boundaries now proliferating in genetic and genomic science—and embeds the representation of animals within biopolitical frameworks.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Portions of the Introduction were previously published as “Literary AnimalAgents,” PMLA: Publication of the Modern Language Association 124, no. 2(2009): 487–95. An earlier version of chapter 3 was published as “MarryingMy Bitch: J. R. Ackerley’s Pack Aesthetics,” Critical Inquiry 27, no. 1 (2000):21–41. A revised version of chapter 4 was previously published as “Bringing...
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WHEN I BEGAN THIS BOOK over a decade ago, I never anticipated howmuch it would depend on the work of others in cultivating the field of animalstudies. Citations in the following pages often serve a double purpose, notonly noting the work of but also paying homage to scholars and artists whomake room for discussions of animals and animality despite prevailing (and,...
INTRODUCTION: Animal Narratives and Social Agency
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A CENTURY AGO, Irish novelist George Moore addressed the troubled his-tory of the English novel—a “hackney,” in pointed contrast to its thorough-bred Russian and French counterparts—in a series of imaginary conversationswith Edmund Gosse in which literary animals prove much more than meremetaphors.1 Arguing that the so-called great English novels of the eighteenth...
Part I. Intersubjective Fictions
1. Seeing Eyes/Private Eyes: Service Dogs and Detective Fictions
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SEVERAL URBAN AMERICAN dog people have shared with me a peculiarpassing fantasy of disability. They imagine equipping themselves with darkglasses and their pet dogs with harnesses in order to enjoy universal access topublic transportation, restaurants, and parks otherwise forbidden to theirThe problems with this kind of imagining are legion. Not the least is how...
2. Velvet Revolutions: Girl–Horse Stories
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SLIKE ABC’S RELEASE OF Blind Justice, media conglomerate NBC’s deci-sion to air segments of the 2008 Olympic equestrian games in prime time wasa first for television, also one that found most enthusiastic support within asmall community defined by rare historic achievements. Since the twentieth-century reinvention of the Olympics, modern dressage, show jumping, and...
Part II. Intercorporeal Narratives
3. Breeding Narratives of Intimacy: Shaggy Dogs, Shagging Sheep
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WOULD HE OR WOULDN’T HE? The question hovered over comedian DrewCarey’s first performance on the weekday program The Price Is Right in placeof Bob Barker, a prominent animal activist who retired in 2007 as the longest-running daytime game-show host in North American television history. Theanswer came at the very end, when Carey turned to the camera and repeated...
4. The Fictions and Futures of Farm Animals: Semi-Living to “Animalacra” Pig Tales
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...“HOW MUCH OF AN ANIMAL has there to be for it to be a dead animal?”asks anthropologist Garry Marvin on the subject of taxidermy, and such aquestion also applies to the modern experience of meat.1 Well-meaning peo-ple may eschew terms such as “meat animals” and “farm animals” becausethey reduce forms of life to a use value. But such moves also help to empty out...
CONCLUSION: Toward a Narrative Ethology
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At the beginning of the video documentary (a companion to her 1999 mem-oir of the same title) Reason for Hope, primatology superstar Jane Goodallpokes fun at how a particular set of novels influenced her. Recalling how sheloved reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan novels as a child, she opinesthat she “hated” his Jane, then says what her fans have always known: “I’d...
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...1. George Moore, Avowals (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919), 8.3. A generation after Moore, Ian Watt makes this argument in The Rise of the Novel:Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957).4. In The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault posits that the (human) subject isproduced as social agent through “anatamo-politics” (or disciplinary regimes trained...
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Susan McHugh is associate professor of English at the University of New...
Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Posthumanities