The Fictionality of the Human-Animal Distinction in Victorian Literature
O'Malley, Patrick R
This thesis examines the porous boundaries between humans and domesticated animals in Victorian literature, arguing that the depiction of nonhuman animals in literature both upends and reaffirms human-animal hierarchies. Specifically, I focus on George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860) and Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” (1862) to understand the mid-nineteenth-century preoccupation with rethinking the status of the nonhuman animal in light of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). I contend that Eliot and Rossetti blur the distinction between humans and nonhuman animals and raise questions about the role and significance of animals as characters, agents, and literary tropes.By juxtaposing a realist novel and a fable-like poem, this thesis reveals the points of overlap between narrative and poetic strategies when language is used to convey what it is like to be a nonhuman animal. Ultimately, I argue that the complex representation of nonhuman animals in The Mill on the Floss and “Goblin Market” challenges Darwinian ideas about progress and shows that the lives of animal-others matter.
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Human-Animal Bonds in the Laboratory: How Animal Behavior Affects the Perspectives of Caregivers Chang, Fon T.; Hart, Lynette A. (2002)