By Rod Preece
During this provocative inquiry into the prestige of animals in human society from the 5th century BC to the current, Rod Preece offers a totally new point of view at the human-animal courting. He skillfully demonstrates that, counter to triumphing highbrow opinion, moral attitudes towards animals are neither limited to the 20th century nor the results of Darwin’s idea of evolution. they've been a part of Western notion and tradition for hundreds of years.
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Additional info for Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, And Evolution: The Historical Status Of Animals
And in the admiring fellow antiquarian Joseph Haslewood wrote a tribute to him: Some Account of the Life and Publications of the Late Joseph Ritson. qxd 8/4/2005 8:56 AM Page 20 Introduction aside, they were all vegetarians, and hence their sympathy was a parti pris. But as Keith Thomas observed, “From about there developed a highly articulate vegetarian movement”52 – and he mentions a signiﬁcant number of adherents. Ritson was not without allies, and his books sold well and were admired.
Cheyne was a friend of Samuel Johnson, and his writings were roundly praised by that Tory dean of taste. Arbuthnot was physician to Queen Anne. Elliott was physician to the Prince of Wales, later George IV. And if Wesley roused the rabble it was in a diﬀerent cause. Nicholson quotes numerous contemporary individuals who had written against cruelty to animals, especially against vivisection. But he also quotes from such magazines as The Guardian, The Idler, Monthly Review, Monthly Magazine, Gentleman’s Magazine, and Bell’s Weekly Messenger, journals that were the everyday bourgeois fare of those who could read and aﬀord to buy them.
But decidedly not their contemporaries as a whole. To put the matter in context, it is worth mentioning that in opposition to Edmund Burke’s Reﬂections on the Revolution in France – which had sold thirty thousand copies by and was a second Bible to the Anti-Jacobin – it is estimated that as many as ﬁfty books saw the light of day, along with another articles. It would appear that the godless revolutionary spirit of France, if that’s what it really was – and in most instances it was not – lived in many!