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philosophy of the animal in 20th century literature

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Date Issued:
2009
Summary:
The following dissertation examines the philosophy of the animal as it appears in twentieth-century British and American literature. I argue that evolutionary theory, along with the Romantic emphasis on sympathy, creates an historical shift in our perception of humans and nonhumans. Beginning with Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby-Dick, the whale represents what I call a transitional animal figure in that the whale not only shows the traditionally symbolic literary animal but also the beginnings of the twentieth century shift toward the literal animal-as-subject. My proposed comparative analysis consists of a return to classic existential and phenomenological philosophers with animal studies in mind. A handful of critical essays in recent years have conducted just such an analysis. My contribution extends these philosophical endeavors on the animal and applies them to major literary authors who demonstrate a notable interest in the philosophy of animals. The first chapter of the dissertation begins with D.H. Lawrence, whose writings in selected essays, St. Mawr, and "The Fox" continue considerations made by Melville concerning animal being. Because Lawrence often focuses on gender, sexuality, and intuition, I discuss how a Heideggerian reading of animals in Lawrence adds value to interpretations of his fiction which remain unavailable in analyses of human subjects. In Chapter Two, I move on to William Faulkner's classic hunting tale of "The Bear" and other significant animal sightings in his fiction and nonfiction. For Faulkner, the animal subject exists in the author's particular historical climate of American environmentalism, modernism's literary emphasis on visuality, and race theory.
Title: The philosophy of the animal in 20th century literature.
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Name(s): Johnson, Jamie
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of English
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2009
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Physical Form: electronic
Extent: vii, 154 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: The following dissertation examines the philosophy of the animal as it appears in twentieth-century British and American literature. I argue that evolutionary theory, along with the Romantic emphasis on sympathy, creates an historical shift in our perception of humans and nonhumans. Beginning with Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby-Dick, the whale represents what I call a transitional animal figure in that the whale not only shows the traditionally symbolic literary animal but also the beginnings of the twentieth century shift toward the literal animal-as-subject. My proposed comparative analysis consists of a return to classic existential and phenomenological philosophers with animal studies in mind. A handful of critical essays in recent years have conducted just such an analysis. My contribution extends these philosophical endeavors on the animal and applies them to major literary authors who demonstrate a notable interest in the philosophy of animals. The first chapter of the dissertation begins with D.H. Lawrence, whose writings in selected essays, St. Mawr, and "The Fox" continue considerations made by Melville concerning animal being. Because Lawrence often focuses on gender, sexuality, and intuition, I discuss how a Heideggerian reading of animals in Lawrence adds value to interpretations of his fiction which remain unavailable in analyses of human subjects. In Chapter Two, I move on to William Faulkner's classic hunting tale of "The Bear" and other significant animal sightings in his fiction and nonfiction. For Faulkner, the animal subject exists in the author's particular historical climate of American environmentalism, modernism's literary emphasis on visuality, and race theory.
Summary: This combination calls for a natural progression from a Heideggerian existential phenomenology: a contemporary Sartrean reading of animal being. Finally, the last chapter examines J.M. Coetzee, an author whose texts show the accumulated existential and phenomenological progression in the philosophy of the animal with a combined interest in current political and social issues surrounding animal life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Identifier: 321041733 (oclc), 192984 (digitool), FADT192984 (IID), fau:2975 (fedora)
Note(s): by Jamie Johnson.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2009.
Includes bibliography.
Electronic reproduction. Boca Raton, Fla., 2009. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Subject(s): Symbolism in literature
Animals (Philosophy)
Human-animal relationships in literature -- 20th century
Animals in literature -- 20th century
American prose literature -- 20th century -- Criticism and interpretation
English prose literature -- 20th century -- Criticism and interpretation
Held by: FBoU FAUER
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/FAU/192984
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU