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Palgrave Macmillan

Animal Biography

Re-framing Animal Lives

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Establishes animal biography as a critical approach to studying animals and human-animal relationships
  • Contributes to the interdisciplinary research within the human-animal studies (HAS) field
  • Draws from historical sources to illustrate the methods for creating animal biographies

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature (PSAAL)

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About this book

While historiography is dominated by attempts that try to standardize and de-individualize the behavior of animals, history proves to be littered with records of the exceptional lives of unusual animals. This book introduces animal biography as an approach to the re-framing of animals as both objects of knowledge as well as subjects of individual lives. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective and bringing together scholars from, among others, literary, historical and cultural studies, the texts collected in this volume seek to refine animal biography as a research method and framework to studying, capturing, representing and acknowledging animal others as individuals. From Heini Hediger’s biting monitor, Hachikō and Murr to celluloid ape Caesar and the mourning of Topsy’s gruesome death, the authors discuss how animal biographies are discovered and explored through connections with humans that can be traced in archives, ethological fieldwork and novels, and probe the means ofconstructing animal biographies from taxidermy to film, literature and social media. Thus, they invite deeper conversations with socio-political and cultural contexts that allow animal biographies to provide narratives that reach beyond individual life stories, while experimenting with particular forms of animal biographies that might trigger animal activism and concerns for animal well-being, spur historical interest and enrich the literary imagination.

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Constructions

  2. Experiments


“An exhilarating book, not just because of the urgency of its project and the novelty of its approach, but also because of the enlivening presence of all the animal individuals who creep, trot and fly through its pages. These individuals, vividly returned to us by Animal Biographies, pose questions as vital as they are insistent.” (Philip Armstrong, Professor of English, University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

“This extremely important volume provides rich and indispensable insight and great knowledge about the most important relationship in human life—those with animals, as species, collectives, and individuals. Biographical writing on animal personalities allows new ways of thinking about and with animals, as demonstrated in this fascinating compilation of impressive, scholarly and very well written articles.” (Gesine Krüger, Professor of Modern History, University of Zurich, Switzerland, and co-author of Tiere und Geschichte. Konturen einer “Animate History” (2014))

Editors and Affiliations

  • University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany

    André Krebber, Mieke Roscher

About the editors

André Krebber is Lecturer in Theory and History of Human-Animal Relations at the University of Kassel, Germany.

Mieke Roscher is Assistant Professor for Social and Cultural History and the History of Human-Animal Relations at the University of Kassel, Germany. 

Bibliographic Information

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