Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own.
"This is a fascinating, important collection, guaranteed to change the way you think about cultural representations of animals. Figuring Animals cuts across disciplinary and genre boundaries to examine the causes, meanings, and consequences of how we conceive of 'other' species. I can't imagine a more diverse and interesting collection of essays on the depiction of animals in art, language, philosophy, and culture than those assembled here." - Christian Weisser, Florida Atlantic University
"Figuring Animals is, no matter the measure, a striking collection of essays. Pollock and Rainwater have burrowed beneath the thick skin of our assumptions and depictions, and what they reveal to the reader is not particularly pretty, although it is always illuminating. Animals, as they put it, are 'our most persistent other, ' and this text reframes the question of otherness in provocative ways. Humans coopt animal independence, scoff at or revere the possibility of animal emotion, experiment, and adore. Examining our figuring of animals, from the brutal to the anthropomorphic, Pollock and Rainwater demand that we reconsider the relationship. If not for the animals' sake, they seem to say, then for our own." - Megan O'Neill, Associate Professor of English, Stetson University