California State University, Sacramento
Jane Austen and Animals is a thoughtful and lucid book. That it never loses sight of its object—tracing connections between the domination of the nonhuman world and the domination of women in the juvenilia, letters and novels of Jane Austen—may be both a merit and a weakness. On the one hand the book is well researched and remarkably consistent. On the other its argument can seem somewhat unadventurous and occasionally formulaic: the “bad” characters in Austen who exploit animals and natural resources usually exploit women; the “good” ones who are sensitive to the environment are also more sexually egalitarian. The point is not that the argument is not convincing—it is—but that even while it makes a solid case the reader longs for a few more intellectual twists and turns along the way.
Seeber’s book marks the “first full-length study of animals in Austen’s writing” (11). Its main goal is to decenter the...more