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How to Make a Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages (Interventions: New Studies in Medieval Culture) Hardcover – August 11, 2011
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“In How to Make a Human, Karl Steel uses a series of beautifully articulated readings to argue that a foundational violence against animals that defines the human is pervasively at play in medieval texts. Medieval texts define the human through violence against animals, he argues: violence secures human mastery through the submission of the animal and identifies the human as grievable, in opposition to the animal that is not. Steel moves confidently among many different primary and secondary texts and traditions, and he writes about them with remarkable clarity. The research is inventive and extensive, the examples are varied and rich and often surprising, and the analysis is based on often brilliantly insightful close readings. This book is a pleasure to read. “ —Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan
“Compared to work that has already appeared on animals, How to Make a Human is more astute when it comes to theory, more careful when it comes to close reading of evidence, more eloquent in its argument, more forceful, more audacious, and more beautiful. Karl Steel is a creative thinker whose approach is fresh, unorthodox, and groundbreaking. This is an astonishing work of scholarship.” —Jeffrey J. Cohen, George Washington University
About the Author
Karl Steel is assistant professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
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