Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature

Animal Perception and Literary Language

Authors: Wesling, Donald

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  • Recontextualizes prominent texts in intellectual and philosophical history in terms of animal studies
  • Sets forth a methodology for reading literature as an “animalist”
  • Contributes to understanding of embodiment, affect, and perception
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-04969-0
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About this book

Animal Perception and Literary Language shows that the perceptual content of reading and writing derives from our embodied minds. Donald Wesling considers how humans, evolved from animals, have learned to code perception of movement into sentences and scenes. The book first specifies terms and questions in animal philosophy and surveys recent work on perception, then describes attributes of multispecies thinking and defines a tradition of writers in this lineage. Finally, the text concludes with literature coming into full focus in twelve case studies of varied readings. Overall, Wesling's book offers not a new method of literary criticism, but a reveal of what we all do with perceptual content when we read.


About the authors

Donald Wesling is Professor Emeritus of English Literature at UC San Diego, USA. He has published on Wordsworth, John Muir, Edward Dorn, and Bakhtin; on rhyme, meter, and avant-garde prosody; and on how voice and emotion get into writing. 


Reviews

“Animalist perception: it's a radically new topic, carved out of existing theoretical literature.  Donald Wesling has chosen to write on difficult philosophers, and he gives to them clever and understandable readings.  He brings together a tradition out of scattered writings.  He synthesizes an array of perspectives.  Last not least, his titles and subtitles are always witty.” (Enikö Bollobás, Professor of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)
“Animalist perception: it's a radically new topic, carved out of existing theoretical literature.  Donald Wesling has chosen to write on difficult philosophers, and he gives to them clever and understandable readings.  He brings together a tradition out of scattered writings.  He synthesizes an array of perspectives.  Last not least, his titles and subtitles are always witty.” (Enikö Bollobás, Professor of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)“The most challenging companion animals are microbes (by billions inside us) and (symbolically) the truly wild animals: tapeworms, wolverines, head lice, krill, rattlesnakes.  The idea that the megafauna are our animal companions, when the biomass is practically entirely bacteria, seems spent.  What I want to read is a radical animal argument bound to perception and feeling—Donald Wesling's project.  Is 'animal' better than Wesling's 'animalist' as either/both adjective/noun?  It felt good to use two sentences back.  What would Derrida say?  For then the human being wouldn't have to be a human being, if it ever could, although it is an animal.”  (John Granger, Lecturer in Literature, University of California, San Diego, USA)

“The book puts perception at the heart of thinking the trio: animality, reading, writing. It extends animal studies by focusing on the phenomenology of perception as event and process in literary and philosophical texts.  It discovers and develops a notion of 'animalist' thinking and gives examples and demonstrations of how one might read in that tradition. It insists on and clarifies links between motion, sense, feeling, thought and writing.... It's [also] nicely-written, zingy but serious.... This will be of interest for years to come as a substantial work of thinking.” (Sarah Wood, author of Without Mastery: Reading and Other Forces (2014))

 

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-04969-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-04968-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Animal Perception and Literary Language
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-04969-0
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-04969-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-04968-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIV, 327
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics