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From Harrods to Africa: The Travels of a Lion Called Christian

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Abstract This essay is a postcolonial reading of the recently republished auto/biography A Lion Called Christian (2009; originally published in 1971), written by two Australians, Anthony Bourke and John Rendall. The book narrates the unlikely story of raising a lion in Chelsea and discusses his eventual repatriation and new life in East Africa. The essay argues that the representation of the animal in the metropolitan and African spaces as portrayed in the book can be read critically in the context of the cultural legacy of British colonialism and the role of exotic animals in particular. The essay shows that the function of the animal in the book is to problematize the naturalized division of space into human and animal spaces. As a result, the book deconstructs colonialist and anthropocentric hierarchies in modern society by revealing moments of hybridity when the values of colonial discourse are open to disruption and critique.

Affiliations: 1: University of Eastern Finland


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