The History & Origin of Cat Memes: From the 18th Century to lolcats; Or, How Cats have Basically Changed the Internet and the World Furever

Claire Sewell, Spencer D. C. Keralis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Animal trainer Vicki Hearne, following poet John Hollander, described cats as “infinitely interpretable texts,” and authors and artists have inscribed meaning onto cats in a variety of media for centuries (235). On the Internet, cat memes gained popularity in the mid-2000s, but with this timeline we argue that their origins stretch back to at least the 18th century. Our timeline traces the evolution of cat memes from 18th century emblems through the rise of Internet popular culture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHyperrhiz: New Media Cultures
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • lolcats
  • memes
  • literature
  • popular culture
  • viral media

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