‘Take every creature in, of every kind’

Continuity and Change in Eighteenth-Century Representations of Animals

by Silvia Granata (Author)
©2011 Monographs 200 Pages


The eighteenth century witnessed profound changes in the conceptualization of animals and their relation with man: cruelty towards brutes, censured since antiquity for the damage it might cause to the human community, began to be considered from a different perspective, and the recognition of rights stemming from the capacity to feel – common to humans and animals alike – provided the main argument for the burgeoning anti-cruelty movement. Other discourses, however, addressed the nature of animals, increasingly suggesting unexpected affinities with humans, at times questioning age-long definitions of humanity itself.
This book explores the complex interplay of factors that promoted a new way of looking at animals within the context of a more general rethinking of traditional categories. It aims at tracing the interbreeding generated by the encounter of various cultural trends which included natural theology, comparative anatomy, philosophical research, anthropological observations, and a new ideal of humanity connected with the cult of sensibility. Investigating cultural tendencies and literary practices, the author examines an impressive range of sources, revealing some of the reasons why the animal question, apparently a marginal one, emerged during the eighteenth century as a public and much-debated concern.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (August)
General Cultural History and History of the Humanities Gesellschaft und Kultur 17th and 18th Century English LIterature
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 200 pp.

Biographical notes

Silvia Granata (Author)

Silvia Granata graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures in 2002. After attending an MA at the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York, she received a PhD at the University of Pavia where she has also been awarded a post-doc research grant. Her work has dealt mainly with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English culture, focusing in particular on women’s writing, the relationship between literature and science, children’s literature and representations of the Orient.


Title: ‘Take every creature in, of every kind’