The Animal Part : Human and Other Animals in the Poetic Imagination
How can literary imagination help us engage with the lives of other animals? Mark Payne seeks to answer this question by exploring the relationship between humans and other animals in writings from antiquity to the present. Ranging from ancient Greek poets to modernists like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, Payne considers how writers have used verse to communicate the experience of animal suffering, created analogies between human and animal societies, and imagined the kind of knowledge that would be possible if humans could see themselves as animals see them. The Animal Part also argues that close reading must remain a central practice of literary study if posthumanism is to articulate its own prehistory. Offering detailed accounts of the tenuousness of the idea of the human in ancient literature and philosophy, Payne demonstrates that only through fine-grained literary interpretation can we recover the poetic thinking about animals that has always existed alongside philosophical constructions of the human. In sum, The Animal Part marks a breakthrough in animal studies and offers a significant contribution to comparative poetics.
- Paperback | 174 pages
- 152 x 229 x 10.41mm | 267.62g
- 08 May 2015
- The University of Chicago Press
- University of Chicago Press
- Chicago, IL, United States
"There is much to treasure and mull over in this book-it is a brave contribution to an exciting body of work and a stimulating assertion of the continued rewards of studying classical literature, even, and especially, in a post-humanist era." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)
About Mark Payne
Mark Payne is professor in the Department of Classics and a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Theocritus and the Invention of Fiction.