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Humanities 2019, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010012

Perpetual Vanishing: Animal Lives in Contemporary Scottish Fiction

The School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, UK
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract

Animals, writes Akira Mizuta Lippit, ‘exist in a state of perpetual vanishing’: they haunt human concerns, but rarely appear as themselves. This is especially notable in contemporary Scottish fiction. While other national literatures often reflect the ‘animal turn’ in contemporary theory, the number of twenty-first-century Scottish novels concerned with human–animal relations remains disproportionately small. Looking at a broad cross-section of recent and understudied novels, including Mandy Haggith’s Bear Witness (2013), Ian Stephen’s A Book of Death and Fish (2014), Andrew O’Hagan’s The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe (2010), Malachy Tallack’s The Valley at the Centre of the World (2018), James Robertson’s To Be Continued (2016), and Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border (2015) highlights the marginalisation of both nonhuman animals and texts centred on them. The relative absence of engagement with animal studies in Scottish fiction and criticism suggests new opportunities for reevaluating the formulation of environmental concerns in a Scottish context. By moving away from the unified concepts of ‘the land’ to a perspective that includes the precarious relations between humans, nonhuman animals, and their environment, these texts highlight the need for greater, and more nuanced, engagement with fictional representations of nonhuman animals. View Full-Text
Keywords: nonhuman animals; rewilding; fish; crofting; Independence Referendum; peripherality nonhuman animals; rewilding; fish; crofting; Independence Referendum; peripherality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Baker, T.C. Perpetual Vanishing: Animal Lives in Contemporary Scottish Fiction. Humanities 2019, 8, 12.

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