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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Readers of Jack London might well think that a taxonomy of animal species at the turn of the twentieth century would represent ways of thinking about animals that would be quite familiar to us today. Yet there were animals at that time, along with striking cultural events, that seem to belong to different epistemologies altogether, to earlier times: from a circus elephant publicly electrocuted at Coney Island to human beings displayed in zoos and natural history museums; from wolf populations eradicated by government programs to other kinds of wolves inhabiting psychoanalytic and sexual discourses; from racist connections between apes and human “savages” to an octopus and cattle representing the market and class struggle. This chapter opens up a bestiary from the turn of the century in order to illustrate the insights that animal and animality studies can bring to the study of Jack London and his various cultural contexts.

Keywords: Jack London, American literary studies, cultural studies, animal studies, animality studies, bestiary, species, nonhuman animals, human animals

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