William & Mary

Victorian Animal Dreams

Deborah Denenholz Morse's new co-edited collection Victorian Animal Dreams has just appeared (8/07) through Ashgate Pub. Co.

From the Publisher

The Victorian period witnessed the beginning of a debate on the status of animals that continues today. This volume explicitly acknowledges the way twenty-first-century deliberations about animal rights and the fact of past and prospective animal extinction haunt the discussion of the Victorians' obsession with animals. Combining close attention to historical detail with a sophisticated analytical framework, the contributors examine the various forms of human dominion over animals, including imaginative possession of animals in the realms of fiction, performance, and the visual arts, as well as physical control as manifest in hunting, killing, vivisection and zookeeping. The diverse range of topics, analyzed from a contemporary perspective, makes the volume a significant contribution to Victorian studies. The conclusion by Harriet Ritvo, the pre-eminent authority in the field of Victorian/animal studies, provides valuable insight into the burgeoning field of animal studies and points toward future studies of animals in the Victorian period.


'Danahay and Morse have provided Victorianists and students of animal studies with a valuable and timely collection. Ranging from studies of beetlemania to elephant slaughter and the market for whale meat, the diverse essays included here illuminate the complexities of Victorian love of and desire for dominance over the natural world.'
Barbara T. Gates, University of Delaware, USA.