THE ANIMAL PART: Human & other Animals in the Poetic Imagination

Classics for All Reviews

By M. Payne

Chicago (2015) p/b 164pp £17.50 (ISBN 9780226272320)

 The Animal Part, first published in 2010, is part of classicists’ growing commitment to ‘post-humanism’, a body of theory that critiques understandings of culture and the world which place human beings at their centre without giving due consideration to animals and the environment.

In the book’s introduction, P. includes two examples of personal experiences that have influenced his commitment to this movement: first, he describes a sighting of a beaver during a camping trip to Michigan in July 2006, before recalling a childhood memory of being unable to kill a fox during a shooting trip on his grandfather’s farm after he had locked eyes with the animal and perceived a form of understanding between himself and the creature. With detours through Jacques Derrida and David Foster Wallace, what follows is a powerful and very individual exploration of how…

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