Friday, February 28, 2014

If Men Were Horses...

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for The Forsyte Saga, a grouping of three novels and two shorter works about an upper-class British family who are from "new money." The series was published as individual works between 1906 and 1921 and then released as a combined novel in 1922. It has been adapted for television multiple times, most recently in 2002 starring Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte.

In addition to his fiction, Galsworthy was an avid proponent of animal rights who used his fame as a novelist to attract attention to various campaigns against animal cruelty. Numerous animal rights pamphlets of the early 20th century contained a foreword by Galsworthy before delving into the horrors of animal abuse, as depicted in this photo from Docking and Nicking of Horses. Moreover, Galsworthy himself penned a variety of informational texts protecting all manner of animals, such as Horses in Mines or  Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs.

One of the more arresting concepts that such publications employed was that of reverse anthropomorphism, wherein humans were portrayed as if they were animals being abused. Such representations still retain their emotive power even today, perhaps even more so than at the time of their publication because of the success of such campaigns in changing society's perception of animals and instilling a moral imperative to treat beasts with compassion and respect.

To see a 1922 first edition of The Forsyte Saga, ask at Rauner for Rare PZ 3 .G139 Fo2. Docking and Nicking of Horses can be retrieved for examination by asking for Rare HV4753 .E5. Finally, for Horses in Mines, look at Rare HV4755 .G3, and for Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs, see Rare HV4746 .G3.

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