Dissolving into Visibility: Early American Natural History and the Corporeality of Interspecies Encounters

  • Julie McCown
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This chapter analyzes three early American writers’ engagement with natural history discourse and portrayal of interspecies encounters in which shifting animal materiality and the permeability of human and nonhuman bodies heightens the visibility of bodies and raises questions about definitions of agency, personhood, and creaturehood. J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Leonora Sansay, and John James Audubon reveal moments in which the natural world and the plantation system overlap and converge, where animal materiality shifts, making visible the systems and the effects they have on non-white and nonhuman bodies. These moments, informed by natural history discourse, feature careful, attentive observations of bodies and the natural world.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie McCown
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Utah UniversityCedar CityUSA

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