272 pages, 16 b/w illustrations
In an era of overseas exploration and imperial expansion, exotic animals were among the many foreign commodities to appear on British soil. They were a source of fascination to people across the social spectrum and served simultaneously as objects of entertainment, enlightenment and reflection. Focusing on zoos and travelling menageries in the period 1800-1880, Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain explores how contemporaries thought about rare animals, where they encountered them and what symbolic, pedagogic and scientific value they attached to them. Helen Cowie uses animal exhibitions as a vehicle through which to examine issues of race, class, gender and colonialism. She devotes particular attention to travelling menageries, whose appeal transcended social boundaries and whose star exhibits included female lion tamers, 'ravenous hyenas' and pistol-firing elephants.
1. The Lions of London
2. Zoo, Community and Civic Pride
3. Elephants in the High Street
4. Animals Wholesale and Retail
5. Seeing the Elephant
6. Cruelty and Compassion
7. Dangerous Frolicking
8. In the Lions' Den
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Helen Cowie is Lecturer in History at the University of York, UK. She is author of Conquering Nature in Spain and its Empire, 1750-1850 (2011).