Animal StoriesNarrating across Species Lines

Animal StoriesNarrating across Species Lines

Susan McHugh

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816670321

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

Beginning with a historical account of why animal stories pose endemic critical challenges to literary and cultural theory, this book argues that key creative developments in narrative form became inseparable from shifts in animal politics and science in the past century. The book traces representational patterns specific to modern and contemporary fictions of cross-species companionship through a variety of media—including novels, films, fine art, television shows, and digital games—to show how nothing less than the futures of all species life is at stake in narrative forms. The book’s investigations into fictions of people relying on animals in civic and professional life—most obviously those of service animal users and female professional horse riders—showcase distinctly modern and human–animal forms of intersubjectivity. But increasingly graphic violence directed at these figures indicates their ambivalent significance to changing configurations of species.