Oct 3 - Bolen's

For the Honours seminar, Madeleine L'Engle's Many Waters ($8.95). For my own interest, after a brief email exchange some months ago with Ken Belford about the PR for this book, Sharon Kirsch's What Species of Creature: Animal Relations from the New World (on sale for some reason, which almost never happens at Bolen's, for $9.98).

The emailed press release for Kirsch's book explains that the book "probes our seemingly insatiable appetite to trap, catch, skin, domesticate, eat, eradicate or otherwise bend to our use the animals in our midst." Someone on the ALECC listserv immediately asked whether it mentioned predators, without opening the attachment, the fourth word of which was "bears" and which included mention of Jesuits seeking to tame bears through tooth removal, claw removal, and corporal punishment. Horrifying stuff, certainly, and Ken's query to me was (approximately) why on earth New Star Books would want to repeat tales of animal abuse. I haven't started the book yet, but I see that the title to the book provides a clue. It's drawn, Kirsch tells us, from the words of a Huron named Adario to the mellifluously named Louis-Armand De Lom D'Arce de Lahontan. Adario is expostulating about whether the Europeans deserve to be called humans: "Europeans, who must be forc'd to do Good, and have no other Prompter for the avoiding of Evil than the fear of Punishment.... I call that Creature a Man, that hath a natural inclination to do Good, and never entertains the thoughts of doing Evil."

In other words, Kirsch tells stories of animal abuse to clarify the history of European behaviour on this continent. I think. I did mention I haven't read it yet, right?


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