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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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the gaze of the ape: gabriel von max’s affenmalerei and the “question of all questions”

(p.233) Reflection

Cecilia Muratori

Oxford University Press

Why is it at all pleasurable to be in the company of animals such as dogs, monkeys, and cats? According to Schopenhauer, it is because of their “complete naïveté” that we find these creatures so amusing.1 But the company of apes, in particular, must have been especially fascinating to Schopenhauer. He longed to see a living specimen of the great ape, and finally succeeded when a young orangutan was put on display at the 1856 autumn fair in Frankfurt am Main. Upon hearing that the same animal had then been sold and transferred to Leipzig, Schopenhauer was indignant to find out that an acquaintance of his had not seized on this chance to go and see the creature himself. “You must believe me, the orangutan recognizes in man his nobler brotherly relative,” Schopenhauer is supposed to have exclaimed....

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