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Title: Fur, fat, feathers, and fleece : animals, settler colonisation, and the nineteenth-century novel, 1815-1890
Author: Wickes, Briony Joy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 0754
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The story of nineteenth-century settler colonisation was not a solely human narrative, but one that was entangled with animals. This thesis traces the diverse roles of animals, and animal bodies, in the operations of nineteenth-century settler colonisation through an examination of human-animal encounters in nineteenth-century novels. Organised around depictions of four colonial animal industries - sheep farming, fur hunting, whaling, and the feather industry - during the period 1815-1890, it argues that animal bodies are textual pressure points for the fears and fantasies of the settler empire as they are imagined in the novel form. Animals assume this freighted capacity in literary texts because they are attached to important cultural and economic histories, but also to a tradition of Western dualism that has historically deployed the category of 'animal' to construct its hierarchies. In this way, I contend, literary animal representations are also foundational to the manoeuvres and structures of settler colonial power. To make this argument, the thesis draws on new theorisations of biopower by Michel Foucault, Grégoire Chamayou, Nicole Shukin, and Elizabeth Povinelli. Chapter One examines sheep representations and pastoral visions of the settler colonial wool trade in Australia in Charles Reade's It is Never Too Late to Mend (1856), Charles Dickens's Great Expectations (1861) and Anthony Trollope's Harry Heathcote of Gangoil (1874). Chapter Two considers predator-prey relationships and expansive 'hunting power' in R.M. Ballantyne's Canadian adventure narratives. Chapter Three attends to the mythos and materiality of literary whales in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851), and Elizabeth Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers (1863). Finally, Chapter Four concludes by questioning the subversive potential of literary ostriches and their capacity for agency in Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm (1883).
Supervisor: McDonagh, Josephine ; Buckland, Adelene Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available