Little Monstrosities

Writing about dog/human bonds by Hannah Rose Woods, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Iain Sinclair, Michael Burns, Anne Carson, Alison Light, Frank Cioffi, Amia Srinivasan and Jenny Turner.

Little Monstrosities: Victorian Dogdom

Hannah Rose Woods, 16 March 2023

In this new economy, dogs became commodities – designed and standardised. Breeds were now brands, invested with cultural and social capital. The Duchess of Newcastle’s borzois, for instance, were associated with feminine, aristocratic and ‘oriental’ qualities – ‘as romantic and avant-garde as Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes’.

Eva’s Ribs: Dogs and Scholarship

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, 22 February 2007

Our dogs are metaphors for ourselves, something that many of us may have long suspected, but because the idea had never been articulated, or not fully, perhaps we did not appreciate the fact. Or perhaps we didn’t want to face it.

Isle of Dogs

Iain Sinclair, 10 May 1990

As in previous times of plague, we have begun to ‘see’ dogs as warnings: Padfoot, Trash, Shriker, Black Shuck, Pooka, or the Hound of the Baskervilles. They are messengers of death, dark familiars with ‘streams of sulphrous vapour’ issuing from their throats. They represent a broken taboo. They have been carried forcibly into the light, out from the jaws of hell, by a new Hercules, a robot of greed and stupidity.


Michael Burns, 23 February 1995

Between 1872 and 1885, the number of dogs in France increased by nearly half a million; and by the turn of the century, the total number had grown to almost three million. At a time when the threat of dénatalité obsessed the defenders of French grandeur, the nation was literally going to the dogs.

Poem: ‘Good Dog’

Anne Carson, 25 February 2010

Like any couple don’t whistle I’m not your good dog she’d/say I’d say swimming at this hour you must be mad 

Among the Antimacassars

Alison Light, 11 November 1999

Flush becomes a ‘nobody’, an ambiguous fantasy of physical emancipation which, like Virginia Woolf’s notion of androgyny, tries to transcend human sexuality and its relentless polarising of masculine and feminine. Flush, in other words, is a Woolf in dog’s clothing, and thereby hangs the tale.

If Goofy Could Talk

Frank Cioffi, 6 April 1995

The problem is this: we often form representations of the subjective life of animals. What are we up to when we do so?

What does Fluffy think? Pets with Benefits

Amia Srinivasan, 7 October 2021

Do we really know nothing of how animals, even animals as physiologically different from us as lizards or bats, feel about the burning of their forests, the melting of their ice floes, the contamination of their water? Or is it that we do know, and simply fear what acknowledging it would mean?

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