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Social subjects: Representations of dogs in South African fiction in english

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Chapter Summary

Dogs who appear in South African fiction from the nineteenth century to the present are represented as socially and historically located. It is unlikely that any writer in the apartheid era could have made both Mol?s and David Lurie?s claim about dogs having souls without the writers appearing to foreground animal rights at the expense of human rights. Given the new political dispensation post-apartheid writers are now enabled to be more ecologically inclusive, ironically almost to return to Schreiner?s notions of universal connectedness. But dogs are not the only animals writers represent as social-or spiritual subjects. This chapter considers whether the writers conceptualise dogs as capable of selfhood which can be exemplified in intentionality, agency, cognition and emotions and/or whether dogs function metonymically. Martha C. Nussbaum argues that emotions areethical signs of discrimination and intelligence, involving appraisal and evaluation, a point which is very useful in analyzing representations of animals.

Keywords: David Lurie; dogs; Martha C. Nussbaum; social subjects; South African fiction

10.1163/ej.9789004154193.i-300.51
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