THE ERRANT ARK: Man's Relationship with Animals by Philippe Diole

THE ERRANT ARK: Man's Relationship with Animals

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From time immemorial, animals have been linked to human anguish. They have been divinized, turned into caricatures of man, made to bear the burden of our sexuality, and our frustrations, transformed into surrogate parents."" Diole traces this rather muzzy mutuality from primitive man who regarded animals as superior in strength and perhaps as mysterious spiritual forces, through the symbolic use of creatures in religion, the 19th century ""devaluation"" of nature in the interests of science and humanistic religion, to the recent interest in protectionism. The author criticizes some of our present methods including the psychical ""crippling"" of wild animals in zoos and exhaust-filled ""preserves."" He proposes a de-sentimentalizing of our attitudes and urges instead a genuine respect for the needs of animals and less haphazard protection. A respectable viewpoint but considerably weakened here by the author's splattering of fragments of folklore, anthropology, contemporary ecology and downright oddities (the remarks on contemporary bestiality call for rigorous documentation) -- a little bit about a lot of things, and just not enough solid scholarship.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Putnam