Humans and Other Animals

John Holmes

in Darwin's Bards

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780748639403
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652174 | DOI:
Humans and Other Animals

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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This chapter focuses on three types of animal that have played particular symbolic roles in poetry since Charles Darwin. In birds of prey, Robinson Jeffers, Ted Hughes, Richard Eberhart and others have discerned a symbol of the deliberate violence of nature after Darwin. Through songbirds, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost and Amy Clampitt have articulated post-Romantic Darwinian visions of nature to set against Percy Bysshe Shelley's ‘To a Skylark’ and John Keats' ‘Ode to a Nightingale’. Through encounters with deer, Hardy, Frost and others have explored the divide between humans and wild animals and the yearning to cross it. Eberhart gives the impression of time as a perspective in his poem. Like Millay, Frost is less ready than Meredith or even Hardy to believe that there is really scope for the barrier between humans and other animals to be broken down.

Keywords: Robinson Jeffers; Ted Hughes; Richard Eberhart; George Meredith; Thomas Hardy; Robert Frost; Amy Clampitt; birds; songbirds; deer

Chapter.  12383 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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