Learned Pigs and Literate Children: Becoming Human in Eighteenth-Century Literary Cultures

  • Ann Wierda RowlandEmail author
Part of the Literary Cultures and Childhoods book series (LICUCH)


In the winter of 1785, after a successful summer tour of provincial cities, the Learned Pig made its London debut to great acclaim and sensation. Touted for its erudition and clever methods—‘he reads, writes, and casts accounts by means of typographical cards, in the same manner that a printer composes and by the same method’—the performing pig quickly became a fashionable attraction, moving to Sadler’s Wells in the summer as the main act. Evidence of the pig’s popularity comes from a variety of contemporary diaries, letters and press accounts; as the anonymous author of London Unmask’d declares, ‘it would be quite monstrous and ill-bred not to follow the ton, and go see the wonderful Learned Pig; it being the trite question in all polite circles, Pray, my Lord, my Lady, Sir John, Madam, or Miss, have you seen the Learned Pig?’

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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