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Rough BeastsThe Monstrous in Irish Fiction, 1800-2000$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620344.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 05 May 2021

Breeding Breaks Out

Breeding Breaks Out

Shape-Shifters, Cryptids, and Cunning Animals

(p.186) Chapter Eight Breeding Breaks Out
Rough Beasts

Jack Fennell

Liverpool University Press

A central tenet of modern Western culture is the distinction between human and animal, particularly on psychological and cultural grounds: physical differences aside, we emphasise our difference from other species by defining self-awareness, motive, individuality and history as uniquely human traits – to be an animal is effectively to be an automaton. This denial of sapience to animals (or, at its most charitable extreme, the ascription of a kind of ‘diminished personhood’ to them) is fruitful ground for gothic and horror stories. On the one hand, to become or act like an animal is a kind of dissolution; on the other hand, an animal that behaves like a human provokes an unnerving, uncanny response. This chapter considers these aspects of animal-horror, alongside the unsettling phenomena of animal ‘vagrants’ and cryptids, to look at how authors have disrupted the boundaries between human and beast.

Keywords:   cryptids, shapeshifters, animals, personhood, intentionality

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