“I Declare I Never Saw so Lovely an Animal!”: Beauty, Individuality, and Objectification in Nineteenth-Century Animal Autobiographies

  • Monica FlegelEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This chapter investigates the role beauty plays in a number of nineteenth-century animal autobiographies in constructing “individual” animals, ones set apart from their “animality,” included within the framework of the family, and ensconced as narrators of autobiographies. These texts place narrators within gendered frameworks, linking them to female objectification, passivity, and dependence, constructing the animal narrator as a helpless and more sympathetic victim. Beauty also helps distinguish pets from working animals. Linkages between beautiful animals and gender also suggest parallels to narratives of sexualized violence and offer insight into issues of class. The singularity of domestic animals, like that of women, is always in question, because the individuality of bodies that can be objectified is never assured.


Animality Autobiography Gender Sexual violence Classism Victimization Pets Domestic animals 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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