Abstract

This essay brings William Bartram’s 1791 Travels and Thomas De Quincey’s 1849 “The English Mail-Coach” into productive conversation with each other, focusing on crocodilians as a central point of connection. As both physical and semiotic specimens in correspondence networks, crocodilians become a medium of exchange through which Bartram and De Quincey confront the limits of personal identity and imperial expansion. By bringing together these two writers, the essay shows how crocodilians, as a medium of exchange, shift from physical, material specimens to abstract, imaginary symbols, and how natural history’s correspondence networks facilitate an abstraction and effacement of animals.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 361-384
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-22
Open Access
No
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