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The Lives of Animals

by

The Lives of Animals Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The idea of human cruelty to animals so consumes novelist Elizabeth Costello in her later years that she can no longer look another person in the eye: humans, especially meat-eating ones, seem to her to be conspirators in a crime of stupefying magnitude taking place on farms and in slaughterhouses, factories, and laboratories across the world.

Costello's son, a physics professor, admires her literary achievements, but dreads his mother's lecturing on animal rights at the college where he teaches. His colleagues resist her argument that human reason is overrated and that the inability to reason does not diminish the value of life; his wife denounces his mother's vegetarianism as a form of moral superiority.

At the dinner that follows her first lecture, the guests confront Costello with a range of sympathetic and skeptical reactions to issues of animal rights, touching on broad philosophical, anthropological, and religious perspectives. Painfully for her son, Elizabeth Costello seems offensive and flaky, but — dare he admit it? — strangely on target.

Here the internationally renowned writer J. M. Coetzee uses fiction to present a powerfully moving discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. He draws us into Elizabeth Costello's own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals, and her alienation from humans, even from her own family. In his fable, presented as a Tanner Lecture sponsored by the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, Coetzee immerses us in a drama reflecting the real-life situation at hand: a writer delivering a lecture on an emotionally charged issue at a prestigious university. Literature, philosophy, performance, and deep human conviction — Coetzee brings all these elements into play.

As in the story of Elizabeth Costello, the Tanner Lecture is followed by responses treating the reader to a variety of perspectives, delivered by leading thinkers in different fields. Coetzee's text is accompanied by an introduction by political philosopher Amy Gutmann and responsive essays by religion scholar Wendy Doniger, primatologist Barbara Smuts, literary theorist Marjorie Garber, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. Together the lecture-fable and the essays explore the palpable social consequences of uncompromising moral conflict and confrontation.

Review:

"Fluent, challenging lectures on the ethics that shape the human-animal relationship....Coetzee takes no prisoners; there is always suffering on the road to salvation....Included are four commentaries...that add touchwood, and a measure of windiness, to Coetzee's ethical tinderbox." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Platonic in structure and coolly tight-lipped in style, Coetzee's two stories...mirror the sometimes acrimonious exchanges in academic debate....The criticisms of literary critic Marjorie Garber, bioethicist Peter Singer, religious scholar Wendy Doniger and primatologist Barbara Smuts seem redundant after the overdetermined self-criticism of the novel." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"For Coetzee fans and others interested in the links between philosophy, reason, and the rights of nonhumans." Booklist

Review:

"The Lives of Animals is a moral argument within a fictional framework....But fiction has the power to disturb and inspire strong emotions, and this book, thoughtfully argued and committed, is certainly a case in point." Maren Meinhardt, Times Literary Supplement (London)

Review:

"[A] beautifully constructed, troubling, provocative book which resonates in the mind and heart long after you've turned the last page." Helen Kaye, The Jerusalem Post

Review:

"If Coetzee...were an animal, he would be a fox-quick, aloof and crafty....[A]nimal rights and ethical vegetarianism are natural subjects for him. The debate about them turns on questions of suffering, something to which Coetzee's sensorium is pitched with particular keenness." Benjamin Kunkel, The Nation

Review:

"An accessible, thought-provoking introduction to the issues surrounding animal rights." Adam Lively, The Sunday Telegraph (London)

Review:

"Coetzee's dense, witty hybrid is very welcome....[He] brings a rich array of themes into play, including the differences between animals and humans, the nature of philosophy and poetry, the purpose of a university, the role of a reason and the emotions in moral deliberation." Ben Rogers, Financial Times (U.K.)

Review:

"I found The Lives of Animals a genuinely troubling book....I imagine that Coetzee feels the force of almost all the ideas and emotions that his characters express. He is working and living at the edge of our moral sensibilities about animals." Ian Hacking, The New York Review of Books

Review:

"The Lives of Animals is a stimulating and worrying book. It is hard to imagine anyone coming away from it without a new perspective on our relation not only to animals but to the natural world in general, and, indeed, to ourselves." John Banville, The Irish Times

Review:

"A little-known but brilliant tour de force....It's the most artful, thoughtful piece of writing I've come across on the subject of animal rights..." Marni Jackson, The Globe and Mail (U.K.)

Synopsis:

The author of this novel uses fiction to present a discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. The story draws us into novelist Elizabeth Costello's own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals and her alienation from humans, even from her own family.

Synopsis:

"Coetzee stirs our imaginations by confronting us with an articulate, intelligent, aging, and increasingly alienated novelist who cannot help but be exasperated with her fellow human beings, many of them academics, who are unnecessarily cruel to animals, and apparently (but not admittedly) committed to cruelty. The story urges us to reconceive our devotion to reason as a universal value."--From the introduction by Amy Gutmann

"Magnificent. . . . Coetzee's powerful and subtle text is irreducibly about real animal suffering, but it is also about much more."--Phil Baker, Sunday Times (London)

Synopsis:

The idea of human cruelty to animals so consumes novelist Elizabeth Costello in her later years that she can no longer look another person in the eye: humans, especially meat-eating ones, seem to her to be conspirators in a crime of stupefying magnitude taking place on farms and in slaughterhouses, factories, and laboratories across the world.

Costello's son, a physics professor, admires her literary achievements, but dreads his mother's lecturing on animal rights at the college where he teaches. His colleagues resist her argument that human reason is overrated and that the inability to reason does not diminish the value of life; his wife denounces his mother's vegetarianism as a form of moral superiority.

At the dinner that follows her first lecture, the guests confront Costello with a range of sympathetic and skeptical reactions to issues of animal rights, touching on broad philosophical, anthropological, and religious perspectives. Painfully for her son, Elizabeth Costello seems offensive and flaky, but--dare he admit it?--strangely on target.

Here the internationally renowned writer J. M. Coetzee uses fiction to present a powerfully moving discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. He draws us into Elizabeth Costello's own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals, and her alienation from humans, even from her own family. In his fable, presented as a Tanner Lecture sponsored by the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, Coetzee immerses us in a drama reflecting the real-life situation at hand: a writer delivering a lecture on an emotionally charged issue at a prestigious university. Literature, philosophy, performance, and deep human conviction--Coetzee brings all these elements into play.

As in the story of Elizabeth Costello, the Tanner Lecture is followed by responses treating the reader to a variety of perspectives, delivered by leading thinkers in different fields. Coetzee's text is accompanied by an introduction by political philosopher Amy Gutmann and responsive essays by religion scholar Wendy Doniger, primatologist Barbara Smuts, literary theorist Marjorie Garber, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. Together the lecture-fable and the essays explore the palpable social consequences of uncompromising moral conflict and confrontation.

About the Author

An acclaimed novelist and literary critic, J. M. Coetzee is also Professor of English at the University of Cape Town. His books include Disgrace, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life, and Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship. He is a recipient of a 1998 Lannan Award for fiction.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Amy Gutmann 3
THE LIVES OF ANIMALS: J. M. Coetzee
The Philosophers and the Animals 15
The Poets and the Animals 47
REFLECTIONS:
Marjorie Garber 73
Peter Singer 85
Wendy Doniger 93
Barbara Smuts 107
CONTRIBUTORS 111
INDEX 123

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691070896
Editor:
Gutmann, Amy
Author:
Garber, Marjorie
Editor:
Gutmann, Amy
Author:
Garber, Marjorie B.
Author:
Coetzee, J. M.
Author:
Singer, Peter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Animal Rights
Subject:
Animal welfare
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Animal welfare -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Subject:
Animal rights -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
The University Center for Human Values Series
Series Volume:
no. 70
Publication Date:
April 2001
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
136
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 8 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Animal Rights
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Animal Rights
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » Conservation and Animal Rights

The Lives of Animals New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$26.95 In Stock
Product details 136 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691070896 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Fluent, challenging lectures on the ethics that shape the human-animal relationship....Coetzee takes no prisoners; there is always suffering on the road to salvation....Included are four commentaries...that add touchwood, and a measure of windiness, to Coetzee's ethical tinderbox."
"Review" by , "Platonic in structure and coolly tight-lipped in style, Coetzee's two stories...mirror the sometimes acrimonious exchanges in academic debate....The criticisms of literary critic Marjorie Garber, bioethicist Peter Singer, religious scholar Wendy Doniger and primatologist Barbara Smuts seem redundant after the overdetermined self-criticism of the novel."
"Review" by , "For Coetzee fans and others interested in the links between philosophy, reason, and the rights of nonhumans."
"Review" by , "The Lives of Animals is a moral argument within a fictional framework....But fiction has the power to disturb and inspire strong emotions, and this book, thoughtfully argued and committed, is certainly a case in point."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully constructed, troubling, provocative book which resonates in the mind and heart long after you've turned the last page."
"Review" by , "If Coetzee...were an animal, he would be a fox-quick, aloof and crafty....[A]nimal rights and ethical vegetarianism are natural subjects for him. The debate about them turns on questions of suffering, something to which Coetzee's sensorium is pitched with particular keenness."
"Review" by , "An accessible, thought-provoking introduction to the issues surrounding animal rights."
"Review" by , "Coetzee's dense, witty hybrid is very welcome....[He] brings a rich array of themes into play, including the differences between animals and humans, the nature of philosophy and poetry, the purpose of a university, the role of a reason and the emotions in moral deliberation."
"Review" by , "I found The Lives of Animals a genuinely troubling book....I imagine that Coetzee feels the force of almost all the ideas and emotions that his characters express. He is working and living at the edge of our moral sensibilities about animals."
"Review" by , "The Lives of Animals is a stimulating and worrying book. It is hard to imagine anyone coming away from it without a new perspective on our relation not only to animals but to the natural world in general, and, indeed, to ourselves."
"Review" by , "A little-known but brilliant tour de force....It's the most artful, thoughtful piece of writing I've come across on the subject of animal rights..."
"Synopsis" by , The author of this novel uses fiction to present a discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. The story draws us into novelist Elizabeth Costello's own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals and her alienation from humans, even from her own family.
"Synopsis" by ,

"Coetzee stirs our imaginations by confronting us with an articulate, intelligent, aging, and increasingly alienated novelist who cannot help but be exasperated with her fellow human beings, many of them academics, who are unnecessarily cruel to animals, and apparently (but not admittedly) committed to cruelty. The story urges us to reconceive our devotion to reason as a universal value."--From the introduction by Amy Gutmann

"Magnificent. . . . Coetzee's powerful and subtle text is irreducibly about real animal suffering, but it is also about much more."--Phil Baker, Sunday Times (London)

"Synopsis" by ,

The idea of human cruelty to animals so consumes novelist Elizabeth Costello in her later years that she can no longer look another person in the eye: humans, especially meat-eating ones, seem to her to be conspirators in a crime of stupefying magnitude taking place on farms and in slaughterhouses, factories, and laboratories across the world.

Costello's son, a physics professor, admires her literary achievements, but dreads his mother's lecturing on animal rights at the college where he teaches. His colleagues resist her argument that human reason is overrated and that the inability to reason does not diminish the value of life; his wife denounces his mother's vegetarianism as a form of moral superiority.

At the dinner that follows her first lecture, the guests confront Costello with a range of sympathetic and skeptical reactions to issues of animal rights, touching on broad philosophical, anthropological, and religious perspectives. Painfully for her son, Elizabeth Costello seems offensive and flaky, but--dare he admit it?--strangely on target.

Here the internationally renowned writer J. M. Coetzee uses fiction to present a powerfully moving discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. He draws us into Elizabeth Costello's own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals, and her alienation from humans, even from her own family. In his fable, presented as a Tanner Lecture sponsored by the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, Coetzee immerses us in a drama reflecting the real-life situation at hand: a writer delivering a lecture on an emotionally charged issue at a prestigious university. Literature, philosophy, performance, and deep human conviction--Coetzee brings all these elements into play.

As in the story of Elizabeth Costello, the Tanner Lecture is followed by responses treating the reader to a variety of perspectives, delivered by leading thinkers in different fields. Coetzee's text is accompanied by an introduction by political philosopher Amy Gutmann and responsive essays by religion scholar Wendy Doniger, primatologist Barbara Smuts, literary theorist Marjorie Garber, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. Together the lecture-fable and the essays explore the palpable social consequences of uncompromising moral conflict and confrontation.

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