Introduction: Literary Animals

Timothy C. Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This introduction examines the way language use and suffering have been used to establish divisions between species in both scientific and philosophical writing, and remain central topics in critical animal studies. Understanding the relation between suffering and language is not only essential for any discussion of the relation between human and nonhuman animals but also for an understanding of twenty-first-century fiction. The introduction argues that contemporary fiction decentres the human subject and challenges anthropocentric perspectives in order to reveal the essential precarity and vulnerability of all living beings. This is demonstrated through a discussion of Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers, as well as texts by Deirdre Madden, Diana Evans, Michel Faber, and others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting Animals
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage, Suffering, and Animality in Twenty-First-Century Fiction
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-03880-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-03879-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Animals and Literature
ISSN (Print)2634-6338
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6346

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Literary Animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this