“Necessary Murder”: Eating Meat Against Fascism in Orwell and Auden

  • Stewart Cole
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This chapter delineates how despite their received status as almost writerly adversaries, George Orwell and W. H. Auden both adopt in their work a carnophallogocentric stance towards vegetarians that feminizes and denigrates those who choose not to consume meat. Whether (as in Orwell’s case) because they deviate insidiously from the ordinary decency that will prove humanity’s salvation, or (as in Auden’s) because they strive in futility towards a purity that can only be enforced through dictatorial means, vegetarians serve for both writers throughout the late 1930s not only as obstacles to fascism’s defeat, but as minor-key exemplars of some of its core tendencies. Orwell’s and Auden’s writings of the 1930s thus alert us, through their carnophallagocentrism, both to the co-constitutive nature of oppressive hierarchies and to how our propensity to frame such hierarchies in strictly anthropic terms can serve to reassert the normative model of subjectivity that virtually ensures their perpetuation.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stewart Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-OshkoshOshkoshUSA

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