The Birth of a Jungle: Animality in Progressive-Era U.S. by Michael Lundblad

By Michael Lundblad

Based on the legislation of the jungle, the habit of untamed animals will be equated with usual human instincts not just for pageant and copy, but additionally for violence and exploitation. Drawing on a variety of novels and cultural occasions on the flip of the 20th century, The start of a Jungle examines how the features and imagery of untamed animals have been evoked to discover a variety of human behaviors, together with homosexuality, exertions exploitation, and the lynching of African Americans.

Throughout the learn, Michael Lundblad emphasizes what he phrases "the discourse of the jungle": Darwinist-Freudian structures of "the human" and "the animal" that redefined quite a few behaviors relating to natural tendencies. With nuanced, attentive readings, Lundblad finds how those formulations of the human animal, regardless of reigning severe interpretations, have been frequently contested instead of strengthened in Progressive-Era texts. Henry James's "The Beast within the Jungle" and fiction via Jack London function possibilities to envision altering attitudes towards sexuality and queer hope. Works like Andrew Carnegie's The Gospel of Wealth and Frank Norris's The Octopus offer insights into one other form of jungle: the capitalist market. The real-life electrocution of a circus elephant at Coney Island and Upton Sinclair's muckraking vintage, The Jungle, tell the following dialogue of animalized type conflict. Understandings of race and evolution are explored in the course of the paintings of William James, Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes, and the function of William Jennings Bryan on the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925.

Engagingly written and cogently argued, The beginning of a Jungle unearths the importance of animality with regards to the historical past of sexuality, literary naturalism, and significant race reviews, whereas highlighting how the discourse of the jungle is still a anxious but strong presence in modern tradition.

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Chauncey reveals that the culture of the early twentieth century “permitted men to engage in sexual relations with other men, often on a regular basis, without requiring them to regard themselves—or to be regarded by others—as gay” (65). But what is the logic, we need to ask, that allows these men to call themselves wolves? The association of the wolf with the “active” or “man’s part” of queer anal sex might suggest the trope of inversion, constructed in nineteenth-century medical and psychological discourses, as one way of explaining the logic at work here.

Thompson Seton read as parental obedience is simply obedience to instinct, and of course in this direction alone safety lies, and there is no departure from it . ” (138). 62 Long becomes the most visible and passionate defender of the truth of his stories, arguing against blanket statements about instinct, for example, that would classify all animals together. In “The Modern School of Nature-Study and Its Critics,” he 22 I n t ro d u c t i o n argues that “animals of the same class are still individuals .

Wolf Species What would it mean to think of a wolf as “homosexual” in terms of either sexual acts or a stable sexual identity? Despite recent evidence of queer behavior among hundreds of animal species,31 the discourse of the jungle tends to reinforce the idea that heterosexuality is more “natural” than homosexuality for most if not all animals, including human beings. Freud’s comment in Civilization and Its Discontents (1930) that man is a wolf to man (homo homini lupus) is focused more on aggressiveness than sexuality, but his interpretation of the wolf in a broader sense, and in individual case studies, often explicitly associates animality with human heteronormativity.

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