chapter
39 Pages

Introduction

Inequality for All
WithRebecca Ann Bach

This chapter argues that humans in the Renaissance lived with, attended to, and considered the minds, feelings, and sociality of other creatures. When Renaissance literature was read and interpreted later, however, it became part of a new fable that both constrains and expands the boundaries of "the subject", and literary insights into birds and beasts as well as humans were largely forgotten. Reading Renaissance texts closely and taking their creaturely references seriously exposes the use of people and other creatures in perhaps uncomfortable ways. The creaturely references in these texts also challenge things that have been vigorously embraced in modernity, including human grandiosity and ideas about human nature. Nonhuman creaturely character appears all over English Renaissance texts, even far from places in which it is the direct subject or in which it is elaborated fictionally. The chapter also discusses some key concepts present in this book.