In England in the second half of the eighteenth century an unprecedented amount of writing urged kindness to animals. This theme was carried in many genres, from sermons to encyclopedias, from scientific works to literature for children, and in the poetry of Cowper, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Clare and others. Romanticism and Animal Rights discusses the arguments writers used, and the particular meanings of these arguments in a social and economic context so different from the present. After introductory chapters, the material is divided according to specific practices that particularly influenced feeling or aroused protest: pet keeping, hunting, baiting, working animals, eating them, and the various harms inflicted on wild birds. The book shows how extensively English Romantic writing took up issues of what we now call animal rights. In this respect it joins the growing number of studies that seek precedents or affinities in English Romanticism for our own ecological concerns.

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