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The Modernist Art of Queer Survival$
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Benjamin Bateman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190676537.001.0001

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James’s Animal Encounters

James’s Animal Encounters

Chapter:
(p.22) 1. James’s Animal Encounters
Source:
The Modernist Art of Queer Survival
Author(s):

Benjamin Bateman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190676537.003.0002

Henry James’s story “The Beast in the Jungle” is read as a response to the “nature fakers” controversy of the Progressive era. As Teddy Roosevelt and others insisted that nature is a war zone in which animals clash violently, James’s tale probes less aggressive animal behaviors and suggests that social Darwinist ideologies encourage the competitive practices they claim to merely describe. Instructing John Marcher in the pleasures to be found in making himself available to a beast he has been trained to fear, May Bartram functions as an early feminist ecologist who deploys a critique of species exceptionalism and its environmental impacts to undermine patriarchal ambition and to promote a vulnerable version of survival.

Keywords:   nature fakers, progressive era, animality, feminist, ecologist

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