Beyond Symbolism: The Rights and Biopolitics of Romantic Period Animals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

While literature is a mode of representing animals within culture, through the Romantic period’s innovations to rights discourses and through its biopoltical apparatus the animality of animals meets and even exceeds our representational capacities. Animal standing before the law gains recognition through a discourse of sentimental connectedness as seen in the works of Jeermy Bentham, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Robert Burns. In a number of agriculturally themed literary works of the period, one witnesses a transformation of life into economic productivity through apparatuses of biopolitical control. In such moments, animals and humans fall under the biopolitical technologies and yet at times resist this mode of capture by expressing capacities that exceed our representational systems. As this chapter conveys, the Romantic period provides novel modes of capture and resistance which echo into today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in Animals and Literature
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages253-264
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Animals and Literature
ISSN (Print)2634-6338
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6346

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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