Beyond the Pale

Mark Payne

in The Animal Part

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780226650845
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226650852 | DOI:
Beyond the Pale

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This chapter discusses a number of narrative texts where animals other than human beings live in social groups and communicate with one another as members of them. Before considering Aristophanes' version of the animal society story pattern in Birds, it considers Aristotle's position on the nature of human and animal societies as a kind of counterpoint to the playwright's imaginative engagement with the topic. Aristotle's account of human society in the Politics views its achievements against the horizon of zoological life as a whole, and his famous assertion that the human being is “by nature a political animal” is best understood by comparing his account of what is distinctive about human society with his descriptions of the kinds of sociality exhibited by other animals.

Keywords: animals; human being; animal societies; human society; social groups

Chapter.  11531 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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