Paper Tiger

A Visual History of the Thylacine


Images of animals generate perceptions that have a profound effect on attitudes toward species. Can representations contribute to their extinction? Paper Tiger considers the role of illustrations in the demise of the thylacine or Tasmanian ‘tiger’. It critiques 80 engravings, lithographs, drawings and photographs published between 1808 and 1936, paying attention to the messages they convey, the politics of representation, and the impact on the lives of animals. This approach challenges conventional histories, offers new understandings of human-animal interactions, and presents a chilling story of just how misleading and powerful visual representation can be. It demonstrates how pictures, together with words, can have a vital influence on species’ survival.

" … this book is a remarkable achievement. Freeman writes thoughtfully, carefully and with force, and the book is a very good read."’ (Nigel Rothfels, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

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Carol Freeman is a Research Associate at the University of Tasmania. Her various publications focus on visual representations of animals, bioethics, and the role of popular culture in wildlife conservation. She is also co-editor of Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-Animal Relations, to be published by Ashgate.
“There is so much commending this book. Freeman writes thoughtfully, carefully and with force … telling the story of the thylacine in an original and deeply affecting way ... and the book is a very good read”
Nigel Rothfels, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Extinction of the Thylacine
Cultures of Natural History
Animals in Print
The Zoological Illustration

1. “In Every Respect New”
An Injured ‘Opossum’
The Ambivalence of George Prideaux Harris
Imagining the Monster
French Copies
The Mystery of Bilderbuch für Kinder
British Copies
Imperial Pressures
Continental Impressions
British Images

2. Vermin!
The Naturalist’s Library
Lizars’ Engraving
Constructing a Sheep-Killer
Copies and Reproductions
Economic Zoology

3. “Mr. Gould’s Very Beautiful Work”
The Thylacine Comes to Britain
The Mammals of Australia
Colonial Networks
Joseph Wolf
Louisa Meredith
Broinowski’s Folly
More Copies

4. A Tasmanian Wolf
Wolf Mythology
Crying Wolf
More Continental Versions
Newspaper Illustrations
Reading Darwin’s Theories
The Images
Colour Plates

5. The Impact of Photography
The Open Door
In London Zoo
Tasmanian Captives

6. The Thylacine Refigured
Posing the Animal
Cropping the Image
New Backgrounds
Removing the Backdrop
Fabricating the Scene

7. Forgetting and Remembering
Moves toward Conservation
Emblems and Brands
Idols, Fetishes and Totems
Sealed with a Thylacine
List of Illustrations
This book will interest human-animal studies scholars, zoologists, conservationists, cultural historians, print collectors and museum curators. It provides both a visual resource and a compelling story for general readers.
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