Bruce Thomas Boehrer


On his book Animal Characters: Nonhuman Beings in Early Modern Literature

Cover Interview of June 28, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“How animals changed at the dawn of the modern age.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“As inner life becomes a uniquely human attribute, a whole set of literary forms dealing with animal characters—beast-fable, beast-epic, chivalric romance—disappears from the literary mainstream, replaced by new genres built to display human subjectivity: the novel preeminently, but also lyric poetry and the comedy of manners.”

On the second:

“The persecuted cats of early modern Europe come to seem more and more like doubles of the suffering Christ himself: the ritually tormented scapegoat on whose sacrifice the system of ritual itself depends.”