Contesting Sentimentalism: Human–Animal Bonds and Boundaries in Grace Greenwood’s History of My Pets

  • Kerstin Rudolph


History of My Pets was immensely popular during the nineteenth century, but has since moved to the margins of scholarly attention. The chapter uses liminality, a concept that evokes the dynamic interplay between the center and the margin as well as a crossing of thresholds and boundaries of various sorts, to argue two points. First, the essay recovers Greenwood as an influential nineteenth-century author. Second, while History of My Pets’ emphasis on the close bond between children and animals, replete with stock images of cross-species kindness and premature deaths, seems to center Greenwood’s book squarely in the register of sentimentality, the author contends that Greenwood’s representation of human–animal bonds is often unrulier. History of My Pets invites us to dig beyond the traditional understanding of camaraderie between humans and pets and instead contemplate the more radical—symbiotic and transformative—implications of human–animal bonds.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerstin Rudolph
    • 1
  1. 1.Catawba CollegeSalisburyUSA

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