Mobilizing Literary Traditions: “The Ultimate Word Will Be Spoken…by the Heart”

  • Chien-hui Li
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


This chapter explores the unique affinity with the literary sphere proclaimed by the animal defense movement. I argue that the remarkable expressions of humanitarian sympathy in eighteenth century literature, the binary frame of reference widely adopted by the movement in its representation of the battle against animal experimentation, as well as the ultimate reliance on “the heart” by many reformers, all contributed to the movement’s conspicuous identification with the literary tradition. I then illustrate how, through a series of literary tasks, such as reviews, criticism, construction of literary lineage, editing of anthologies of humanely-inspired literature, solicitation of support from writers, and involvement in actual writing, the movement deeply engaged with the literary tradition in their mobilization for the animal cause. In this way the animal protection movement turned literature into a vital reservoir of moral, intellectual, and cultural resources for its various objectives, which was especially important in the age of mass literacy and mass publication from the 1870s onwards.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chien-hui Li
    • 1
  1. 1.National Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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