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Les chats deviennent au cours du dix-huitième siècle des animaux domestiques très populaires, surtout dans les villes, alors que la Grande-Bretagne passe progressivement d’une société majoritairement agraire à une société plus urbaine. Pourtant, au cours de ces changements sociétaux, les chats ne perdent pas leurs pouvoirs magiques, comme le rappelle un célèbre folklore. Ils sont des amis familiers de l’homme, ronronnant au coin du feu, tout en gardant une forme d’étrangeté animale. Cette alliance de contraires est la source d’un grand élan de créativité littéraire et intellectuelle. Les chats semblent transmettre des messages d’aventure et de solidarité entre les espèces.


Cats became very popular pets during the eighteenth century, especially in the cities, as Britain gradually moved from being a predominantly agrarian society to an increasingly urbanised world. Yet during these social changes, cats did not lose their magical powers, as many popular folklore tales bore witness. Cats, purring by the fireside, were familiar domestic friends, whilst retaining their relative feline aloofness and ‘strangeness’. Their alliance of opposing characteristics was a source of great literary and intellectual creativity. Thus cats conveyed ‘electric’ messages both of adventure and of solidarity between humans and felines.

In: Human-Animal Interactions in the Eighteenth Century
How did humans respond to the eighteenth-century discovery of countless new species of animals? This book explores the gamut of intense human-animal interactions: from love to cultural identifications, moral reflections, philosophical debates, classification systems, mechanical copies, insults and literary creativity.

Dogs, cats and horses, of course, play central roles. But this volume also features human reflections upon parrots, songbirds, monkeys, a rhino, an elephant, pigs, and geese – all the way through to the admired silkworms and the not-so-admired bookworms.

An exceptionally wide array of source materials are used in this volume’s ten separate contributions, plus the editorial introduction, to demonstrate this diversity. As eighteenth-century humans came to realise that they too are animals, they had to recast their relationships with their fellow living-beings on Planet Earth. And these considerations remain very much live ones to this day.
In: Human-Animal Interactions in the Eighteenth Century
In: Human-Animal Interactions in the Eighteenth Century