Performing Animals: History, Agency, Theater by Karen RaberPerforming Animals: History, Agency, Theater by Karen Raber

Performing Animals: History, Agency, Theater

EditorKaren Raber, Monica Mattfeld

Hardcover | September 7, 2017

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From bears on the Renaissance stage to the equine pageantry of the nineteenth-century hunt, animals have been used in human-orchestrated entertainments throughout history. The essays in this volume present an array of case studies that inspire new ways of interpreting animal performance and the role of animal agency in the performing relationship.

In exploring the human-animal relationship from the early modern period to the nineteenth century, Performing Animals questions what it means for an animal to “perform,” examines how conceptions or this relationship have evolved over time, and explores whether and how human understanding of performance is changed by an animal’s presence. The contributors discuss the role of animals in venues as varied as medieval plays, natural histories, dissections, and banquets, and they raise provocative questions about animals’ agency. In so doing, they demonstrate the innovative potential of thinking beyond the boundaries of the present in order to dismantle the barriers that have traditionally divided human from animal.

From fleas to warhorses to animals that “perform” even after death, this delightfully varied volume brings together examples of animals made to “act” in ways that challenge obvious notions of performance. The result is an eye-opening exploration of human-animal relationships and identity that will appeal greatly to scholars and students of animal studies, performance studies, and posthuman studies.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Todd Andrew Borlik, Pia F. Cuneo, Kim Marra, Richard Nash, Sarah E. Parker, Rob Wakeman, Kari Weil, and Jessica Wolfe.

Karen Raber is Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. Her most recent book is Animal Bodies, Renaissance Culture.Monica Mattfeld is Assistant Professor of English Literature and History at the University of Northern British Columbia and the author of Becoming Centaur: Eighteenth-Century Masculinity and English Horsemans...
Title:Performing Animals: History, Agency, TheaterFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.75 inPublished:September 7, 2017Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271078340

ISBN - 13:9780271078342

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


Karen Raber and Monica Mattfeld

1 Animals at the Table: Performing Meat in Early Modern England and Europe Karen Raber

2 Intra-Active Performativity: Rethinking the Early Modern Equestrian Portrait Pia F. Cuneo

3 Past Performances: Gleanings from the Archives About Early Modern Equine Athletic Performance Richard Nash

4 “I See Them Galloping!”: War, Affect, and Performing Horses in Matthew Lewis’s Timour the Tartar Monica Mattfeld

5 Peaceable Kingdom: The Place of the Dog at the Nativity Scene Rob Wakeman

6 Performing Pain: The Suffering Animal in Early Modern Experiment Sarah E. Parker

7 Circus Minimus: The Early Modern Theater of Insects Jessica Wolfe

8 Shakespeare’s Insect Theater: Fairy Lore as Elizabethan Folk Entomology Todd Andrew Borlik

9 Miss Mazeppa and the Horse with No Name Kari Weil

10 Horses Queer the Stage and Society of Shenandoah Kim Marra


List of Contributors


Editorial Reviews

“This superb collection brings together leading scholars and historians to explore cutting-edge questions surrounding animal agency and performativity. Employing theoretical frameworks ranging from animal studies to the new materialisms, these essays demonstrate that the varied and various sites of animal performance are among the most fecund places from which to think about relations between humanity and animality.”—Matthew Calarco, author of Thinking Through Animals: Identity, Difference, Indistinction