Animal Studies and the Eighteenth Century: The Nature of the Beast

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This essay offers an overview of important historical and theoretical issues in animal studies scholarship on the long eighteenth century, 1660–1750. It draws connections among the theological, social, and ontological debates of the early modern period and discusses how these debates helped to shape current questions in posthumanist and animal studies research. Recent works in animal studies about the eighteenth century explore anthropocentrism and the human–animal divide; sensibility and anti‐cruelty legislation; thing theory and personhood; and literary subjectivity in the broader context of more‐than‐human ecologies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12536
JournalLiterature Compass
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 26 2019


  • animal studies
  • eighteenth century
  • posthumanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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