The Grammar of Zoopoetics: Human and Canine Language Play

  • Joela Jacobs
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This chapter traces the motif of attributing language to dogs from postmodern memes like the “doge,” which play with ungrammatical language, to modernist canine narratives by Oskar Panizza and Franz Kafka, which tie into the tradition of the eloquent “philosopher dog.” In these texts, language undoes the difference between human and animal by introducing epistemological and ontological doubt, which destabilizes the perception of self and other for both the narrating dogs and the human readers. In the context of modernist language skepticism, this is a moment of fundamental crisis, while postmodern memes engage playfully with the norms of language and being. What appears as ungrammatical partakes in the grammar of zoopoetics: the particular linguistic creativity enabled by anthropomorphized animal language that questions its own presuppositions.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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