Animal Companions: Pets and Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Hardcover | April 20, 2015

byIngrid H. Tague

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Although pets existed in Europe long before the eighteenth century, the dominant belief was that pet keeping was at best frivolous and at worst downright dangerous. In Animal Companions, Ingrid Tague explores the eighteenth-century conversation about the presence of pets in British society and the ways in which that conversation both reflected and shaped broader cultural debates. Tague argues that pets, as neither human nor fully part of the natural world, offered a unique way for Britons of the eighteenth century to articulate what it meant to be human and what their society ought to look like.

Having emerged from the Malthusian cycle of dearth and famine at the end of the seventeenth century, England became the wealthiest nation in Europe, with unprecedented access to consumer goods of all kinds. And closely connected with these material changes was the Enlightenment, with its implications for contemporary understanding of religion, science, and non-European cultures. All these transformations generated both excitement and anxiety, and they were reflected in debates over the rights and wrongs of human-animal relationships. Looking at a wide variety of texts, Tague shows how pets became both increasingly visible indicators of spreading prosperity and catalysts for debates about the morality of the radically different society emerging in this period.

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Although pets existed in Europe long before the eighteenth century, the dominant belief was that pet keeping was at best frivolous and at worst downright dangerous. In Animal Companions, Ingrid Tague explores the eighteenth-century conversation about the presence of pets in British society and the ways in which that conversation both r...

Ingrid H. Tague is Associate Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of History at the University of Denver.

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Women of Quality: Accepting and Contesting Ideals of Femininity in England, 1690-1760
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Hardcover|Oct 31 2002

$131.22 online$146.50list price(save 10%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.3 × 6.3 × 0.98 inPublished:April 20, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271065885

ISBN - 13:9780271065885

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Material Conditions of Pet Keeping

2. Domesticating the Exotic

3. Fashioning the Pet

4. A Privilege or a Right?

5. Pets and Their People

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Thanks to animal studies, the difference between ‘animal’ and ‘human’ is neither stable nor certain. Tague approaches this hierarchy from the human end of the spectrum, finding touching and significant ways in which human pet owners reified or challenged the animal-human relationship in the eighteenth century as pet keeping evolved from a proscribed to an approved cultural practice.”—Ann-Janine Morey, American Historical Review