Animal Families

  • Helen SmithEmail author
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


In the early modern period, animal–human relationships were at once intimate and abstract, affective and analogical. Through the influential writings of Edward Topsell, this chapter explores how animals operated as emotional and oeconomic ideals, and traces their intimate presence in the home. Non-humans did not simply offer convenient mechanisms to conceptualise the politics of the family, but became part of the family’s social, emotional, and bodily life. Working towards a cosmopolitical understanding of the early modern family, this chapter challenges the dominance of civil politics as a model for the household and its hierarchies, and investigates ideals of household management and affect rooted in ideas of ‘nature’, kind, and feeling.


Early Modern Period Household Management Folk Knowledge Familiar Animal Commonplace Book 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Related LiteratureUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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