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The Rebellion of The Beasts: Or, the Ass is Dead! Long Live the Ass! Hardcover – August 30, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Outraged by their brutal mistreatment at the hands of humankind, the animals rebel all across the land and establish their own government. George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945)? Yes, but also The Rebellion of the Beasts, a blisteringly satirical and devilishly witty assault on the monarchy published anonymously in London in 1825. Soon forgotten, it has, thankfully, been retrieved and attributed to poet, critic, and journalist Hunt, who counted among his friends Shelley and Hazlitt and whose ire was aroused by his and his brother's incarceration for criticizing the prince regent. His ribald and masterful lampoon takes the form of a wily account by one John Sprat, who is able to talk to the animals as they turn their righteous revolution catastrophic by emulating humanity at its worst. The beasts put a "great Ass" (Hunt relishes every pun) on the throne and gleefully practice violent religious fundamentalism, censorship, even genocide. Hunt's sagacious, slyly funny, and courageous indictment of those who abuse power is as relevant now as then and bound to elicit much curiosity and discussion. Donna Seaman
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Review

"...Clever, savage, funny and poignant, this attack on political arrogance, religious hypocrisy, and intellectual excess is as applicable today as it was in 1825, when it was so dangerous that Leigh Hunt... published it anonymously. Hunt's novel still speaks for the dispossessed, disempowered, the universal victims of political ambition, insensitivity, and greed..." Chr(45) Dr Marilyn Gaull, Editor, The Wordsworth Circle; Professor of English, New York University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897335201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897335201
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,522,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
2004 saw the first publication of this gleefully savage satire in some 180 years, and I must say that the author of The Rebellion of the Beasts or, The Ass is Dead! Long Live the Ass!!! was brilliantly scathing in his allegorical attack on the English monarchy of his day. I found this book well-nigh hilarious in its obvious lampooning of political corruption and courtly behavior. It's not hard to see why the author, in 1825, published the work anonymously. The content of this book is just the sort of thing that could get you boiled in oil and/or separated from your head by a very much not-amused king. Strangely enough, however, the book seems to have come and gone rather quietly in its day, which explains why it has basically lain dormant for almost two centuries. Although the novel is attributed to Leigh Hunt, the identity of the author is by no means certain - I personally find compelling reasons to doubt the given attribution. It has obvious parallels with George Orwell's Animal Farm, but there is no evidence that Orwell ever perused this little gem of satirical genius.

In the story, the human narrator tells of how he snuck into the library at Cambridge as a prank and pilfered an old manuscript by Cornelius Agrippa, by which he learned how to brew a concoction that gave him the ability to converse with the animals. He acquires his amazing skill on the very eve of the animals' long-planned revolt against the vile, cruel human race. After a successful rebellion and the subjugation of man, the animals all come together to establish a government. The "Rights of Brutes" are quickly established as the first step to liberty and justice for all animals (except man, of course). Different factions soon emerge among the species, however.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Murphy 's Mom on November 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The Rebellion of the Beasts" is amazingly well-written and not too terribly dated for a book published in 1825. It makes for very interesting reading, keeping Orwell's "Animal Farm" in mind. The introduction by Douglas Anderson states that there is no evidence that Orwell read this book, and that idea is buttressed by the differences in both the development of the story and in the details of the rebellion by the "brutes". If Leigh Hunt was indeed the author of "The Rebellion of the Beasts", he must be elevated to the post of patron saint of PETA by default, given his deep sensitivity to the sufferings of ALL the "brutes", from the ass to the flea. Some of the satire and more obscure details (hey, I was forced to "Google" several items) are above and beyond modern readers, but the story IS engaging and thought-provoking. We "humans" do take the lives and sufferings of our fellow creatures entirely too lightly. Hunt speaks up for all the other animals; the mammals, the fishes and the insects included. In fact, I now feel quite guilty about having enjoyed raw oysters at a recent roast and pig-picking. On the downside, the book is small and just 150 pages long. On the upside, those of us with the attention span of a gnat (like me) can easily consume it without flagging.
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