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Beastly Possessions

Animals in Victorian Consumer Culture

by (author) Sarah Amato

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2015
General, Great Britain, General, General, General, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2015
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
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In Beastly Possessions, Sarah Amato chronicles the unusual ways in which Victorians of every social class brought animals into their daily lives. Captured, bred, exhibited, collected, and sold, ordinary pets and exotic creatures – as well as their representations – became commodities within Victorian Britain’s flourishing consumer culture.

As a pet, an animal could be a companion, a living parlour decoration, and proof of a household’s social and moral status. In the zoo, it could become a public pet, an object of curiosity, a symbol of empire, or even a consumer mascot. Either kind of animal might be painted, photographed, or stuffed as a taxidermic specimen.

Using evidence ranging from pet-keeping manuals and scientific treatises to novels, guidebooks, and ephemera, this fascinating, well-illustrated study opens a window into an underexplored aspect of life in Victorian Britain.

About the author

Sarah Amato is a lecturer in material culture and modern British history at the University of Toronto.

Sarah Amato's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘This book is a great read and offers much insight to readers who want to know more about the connections between human and animal world.’

Journal of Modern History vol 89:03:2017