Animals, Animality and Controversy in Modern Welsh Literature and Culture

Author(s) Linden Peach

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism, Philosophy

Series: Writing Wales in English

  • November 2022 · 264 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786839374
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786839381
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786839398

About The Book

This pioneering study introduces readers to key themes from animal studies, as a frame within which it examines the representation of animals and animality in the work of a range of authors. In this new approach to animal studies, the concept of a relational universe that has emerged in recent natural and physical science is argued as being central. With fresh readings of Welsh literary and non-literary publications, including the Welsh press and Welsh-language manuals, the book explores relationships among animals and between humans and animals, to approach subjects such as intelligence, sensibility and knowledge from an animal perspective. The possibility of redrawing and reclaiming a history of rural and industrial Wales is suggested according to an animal history and agenda. This innovative contribution to Welsh and animal studies illuminates fascinating and controversial subjects, including animal domestication, captivity, communication, biopsychology, human exceptionalism, zoos and farming.


‘An alert and wide-ranging contribution to our understanding of the “entangled empathies”, complex dependencies and multiple environments (natural, agricultural, industrial and domestic) of human−animal relations in Wales’s imaginative writing. Peach’s study is eloquent in its respect for animal subjectivities and humbling in its rebuke of human exceptionalism.’
Damian Walford Davies, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of English Literature, Cardiff University

‘“The pig is a friend” wrote the great Welsh poet R. S. Thomas, and Linden Peach’s richly knowledgeable and engagingly written book offers the ideal introduction to the many, deep and deeply ambivalent relationships with animals that populate Welsh literature. Drawing on key themes in animal studies, and connecting deft analysis of specific portrayals of animals to cultural and ecological knowledges about them, the book reveals for the first time that the most innovative contemporary ideas about humans’ relations with animals are profoundly expressed in Welsh literary traditions. This is a most exciting and important addition to literary animal studies.’
Robert McKay, co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature


Series Editors’ Preface
1 Animals and Animality in a Relational Universe
2 Rethinking Animal Contexts: Rural and Industrial Wales
3 Emerging Animalities in the Victorian and Edwardian Welsh Press
4 Exotic Pets and Spectacular Entertainments
5 Brief Encounters
6 Birds Over Wales
7 Domestication and ‘Domesecration’
8 Children’s Book Pets
9 Conflicting Cosmologies: Three Stories by Gwyn Jones
10 Entangled Empathies: Gillian Clarke and Keith Bowen
Select Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Linden Peach

Professor Linden Peach is Director of Educational Development at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London. He has published extensively on modern literature, including important works on the Welsh novelist and pacifist Emyr Humphreys, and on Welsh women’s writing. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the English Association.

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