Monstrous Vegan Narratives: Margaret Atwood’s Hideous Progeny

  • Emelia Quinn
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


Victor Frankenstein’s iconic creation in Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein, the “Beast People” of H. G. Wells’s 1896 The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the genetically modified Crakers that populate Margaret Atwood’s 2003–2013 MaddAddam trilogy: across 200 years of Anglophone literature, the story of the monstrous vegan proliferates. Quinn’s essay engages in a close-reading of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, arguing that veganism undergoes a radical deconstruction and reformulation within the novels. Unpacking the numerous allusions to a wide body of vegetarian and vegan philosophy and thought within the texts, from the Ancient Greeks to the fiction of Shelley and Wells, this essay rethinks ideas about narrative transmission and the reproduction of literary veganism(s).

Works Cited

  1. Adams, Carol J. 2015. The Sexual Politics of Meat. London: Bloomsbury Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armstrong, Philip. 2008. What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Atwood, Margaret. 2013. Oryx and Crake. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2013. The Year of the Flood. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2014. MaddAddam. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, Judith. 1993. Bodies That Matter. On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Coetzee, J.M. 2001. The Lives of Animals. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cole, Matthew, and Kate Stewart. 2014. Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham/London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fiddes, Nick. 1991. Meat: A Natural Symbol. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Fox, Michael Allen. 1999. Deep Vegetarianism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Graham, Huggan, and Helen Tiffin. 2010. Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Halberstam, Judith. 1995. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham/London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2005. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kemp, Peter. 1982. H. G. Wells and the Culminating Ape: Biological Themes and Imaginative Obsessions. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Kincaid, James. 1992. Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Luke, Brian. 1995. Taming Ourselves or Going Feral? In Animals and Women, ed. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan, 290–319. Durham/London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McKay, Robert. 2005. ‘Identifying with the Animals’: Language, Subjectivity, and the Animal Politics of Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. In Figuring Animals, ed. Mary Sanders Pollock and Catherine Rainwater, 207–227. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Muñoz, José Esteban. 2009. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Rohman, Carrie. 2009. Stalking the Subject: Modernism and the Animal. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Salih, Sara. 2014. Vegans on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. In The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: From the Margins to the Centre, ed. Nik Taylor and Richard Twine, 52–68. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Sheldon, Rebekah. 2016. The Child to Come. Life After the Human Catastrophe. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  23. Shelley, Mary. 2003. Frankenstein. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  24. Spencer, Colin. 1993. The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism. London: Fourth Estate.Google Scholar
  25. Wells, H.G. 2005. The Time Machine. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Wells, H. G. 2005. The Island of Doctor Moreau. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  27. Wood, David. 1999. Comment ne pas manger – Deconstruction and Humanism. In Animal Others: On Ethics, Ontology, and Animal Life, ed. Peter H. Steeves, 15–35. Albany: University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  28. Wright, Laura. 2015. The Vegan Studies Project. Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror. Athens/London: The University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emelia Quinn
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations