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Swallows and Hounds: Defoe’s Thinking Animals



1. As Michael Newton suggests, “Peter exists in terms of the thing which he does not fully possess” (“Bodies Without Souls” 206). For other discussions of this text, see Novak (1972), Nash (2003), and Gregg.

2.For valuable commentary on the key texts that constitute the debate in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see Shugg, Thomas, and Fudge. For a selection of these texts with a brief commentary, see The Daniel Defoe Blog:

3. For a useful overview, see Cole.

4. Elsewhere, Nash sees a glimpse of sentimentalism in Crusoe’s relations to his pets (“Animal Nomenclature” 101−118). Armstrong briefly acknowledges Defoe’s Review piece as a “challenge to the separation of human rationality from brute mechanical instinct” (17).

5. See Gregg, “Defoe’s ‘Horse-Rhetorick.’” In this sense I am following Carol Houlinhan Flynn who argues for Defoe’s keen awareness of the “problem of the [human] body” (6).

6. The first edition was in 1691, although the swallows were not discussed until the enlarged third edition of 1701 and in subsequent editions.

7. For the Tour’s sources, see Rogers (61−118) and Vickers (151−76).

8. The reply by “J.S.” appears in the “Supplement for January 1705” which appeared after the March 27th edition.

9.The detail of the “open mouth” does not appear in any other version of this fable I have been able to find.

10. John McVeagh suggests that for Archytas and Kircher “Defoe’s correspondent is perhaps drawing upon two entries in Collier” (Collier’s translation of Moréri’s Dictionary, 1701) (Review 1.740).

11. For an ingenious and suggestive reading of eighteenth-century thinking on the nature of sympathy between humans and animals via J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello and, in passing, Defoe’s realism, see Lamb.


Armstrong, Philip. What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Birkhead, Tim. The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of Ornithology. London: Bloomsbury, 2008. Print.

Brown, Laura. Fables of Modernity: Literature and Culture in the English Eighteenth Century. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2001. Print.

——. Homeless Dogs and Melancholy Apes: Humans and Other Animals in the Modern Literary Imagination. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2010. Print.

Clarke, Samuel. The Lives of Thirty-Two English Divines. London, 1677. Print.

——. The Lives of Two and Twenty English Divines. London, 1660. Print.

Cole, Lucinda. “Introduction: Human and Animal Studies and the Eighteenth Century.” The Eighteenth Century 52.1 (2011): 1−10. Print.

Defoe, Daniel. Jure Divino: A Satyr. Satire, Fantasy and Writings on the Supernatural by Daniel Defoe. Ed. W. R. Owens and P. N. Furbank. Vol. 2. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2003. Print [Abbreviated SFWS].

——. Mere Nature Delineated: Or, A Body Without a Soul. London, 1726. Print.

——. Review. Ed. John McVeagh. 9 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2003–2011. Print.

——. A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain. 3 vols. London, 1724–[1726]. Print.

Derham, William. Physico-Theology: Or, a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, from his Works of Creation. 2nd ed. London, 1714. Print.

Derrida, Jacques. “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow).” Trans. David Wills. Critical Inquiry 28.2 (2002): 369−418. Print.

Floridi, L. “Scepticism, Animal Rationality and the Fortune of Chrysippus’ Dog.” Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie 79 (1997): 27−57. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

Flynn, Carol Houlihan. The Body in Swift and Defoe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990. Print.

Fudge, Erica. Brutal Reasoning: Animals, Rationality, and Humanity in Early Modern England. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2006. Print.

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Gregg, Stephen H. “Defoe’s ‘horse-rhetorick’: Human Animals and Gender.” Topographies of the Imagination: New Approaches to Daniel Defoe. Ed. Katherine Ellison, Kit Kincade and Holly Faith Nelson. Forthcoming New York: AMS Press, 2014. Print.

Le Grande, Antoine. An Entire Body of Philosophy According to the Principles of the Famous Renate Des Cartes in Three Books. Trans. Richard Blome. London, 1694. Print.

Lamb, Jonathan. “Sympathy with Animals and Salvation of the Soul.” The Eighteenth Century 52.1 (2011): 69−85. Print.

Mayor, John E. B. “King James I on the Reasoning Faculty of Dogs.” The Classical Review 12.2 (Mar. 1898): 93−96. Print.

Montaigne, Michael. Essays of Michael, Seigneur de Montaigne in Three Books. Trans. Charles Cotton. London, 1685. Print.

Morton, Charles. An Essay Towards the Probable Solution of this Question. Whence come the stork and the turtle, the crane and the swallow, when they know and observe the appointed time of their coming. Or where those birds do probably make their recess and abode, which are absent from our Climate at some certain Times and Seasons of the Year. London, 1703. Print.

——. “Appendix of the Soules of Brutes.” Pneumaticks: Or the Doctrine of Spirits. Harvard MS AM911* (pp. 89−126), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Nash, Richard. “Animal Nomenclature: Facing Other Animals.” Humans and Other Animals in Eighteenth-Century British Culture. Ed. Frank Palmeri. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. 101−18. Print.

——.“Joy and Pity: Reading Animal Bodies in Late Eighteenth-Century Culture.” The Eighteenth Century 52.1 (2011): 47−67. Print.

——. Wild Enlightenment: The Borders of Human Identity in the Eighteenth Century. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 2003. Print.

Newton, Michael. “Bodies without Souls: The Case of Peter the Wild Boy.” At The Borders of the Human: Beasts, Bodies and Natural Philosophy in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Erica Fudge, Ruth Gilbert, Susan Wiseman. Houndmills: Palgrave, 1999. 196−214. Print.

Novak, Maximillian E. “The Wild Man Comes to Tea.” The Wild Man Within: An Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism. Ed. Edward Dudley and Maximillian E. Novak. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1972. 183−221. Print.

——. Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.

Plutarch. Plutarch's Morals Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. London, 1691. Print.

Ray, John. The Ornithology of Francis Willughby of Middleton. London, 1678. Print.

——. The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation. 4th ed. London, 1704. Print.

Rogers, Pat. The Text of Great Britain: Theme and Design in Defoe’s Tour. Newark: U of Delaware P, 1998. Print.

Shugg, Wallace. “The Cartesian Beast-Machine in English Literature (1663−1750).” Journal of the History of Ideas 29.2 (1968): 279−92. Print.

Thomas, Keith. Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500−1800. London: Allen Lane, 1983. Print.

Vickers, Ilse. Defoe and the New Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. Print

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