The Rebellion of the Beasts: Or, the Ass Is Dead! Long Live the Ass!

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August 2005



First published in 1825, this wicked, clever satire predates Orwell's "Animal Farm by 120 years. "The Rebellion of the Beasts is attributed to the poet and journalist Leigh Hunt, among whose friends were Keats, Shelley, Hazlitt and Lamb. In 1812, Hunt and his brother John, who co-edited the radical journal "The Examiner, were arrested for criticizing the Prince Regent and remained in prison for two years. This experience of oppression was the apparent motivation for this novel which, like "Animal Farm involves a revolution in which the beasts take over from corrupt mankind. The setting is Cambridge, where John Sprat, the narrator, finds himself a misfit at this staid English university. It seems that he can do nothing right until one night he breaks into a college library and pillages the ancient stacks. He discovers "De Bestiss, an obscure manuscript by Cornelius Agrippa. ""Beast can speak," asserts Agrippa, ""and he that doubteth the fact may read this booke." And read it Sprat does, chapter and verse, even going so far as to concoct a recipe from it for a magic potion that allows him to converse with animals. In this way, he learns from various animals he encounters--who view him as a great wizard--that the beasts of the world are preparing a rebellion. Sprat acts as the reader's eyewitness to the overthrow of mankind. Their grand rebellion complete, the beasts go on to model themselves on their oppressors and create an animal kingdom with the Ass established as Supreme Monarch. The ultimate twist is that the animals, once in power, are just as corrupt as their human counterparts. "The Rebellion of the Beasts is an obvious precursor of George Orwell's "Animal Farm, with its Swiftiansatire directed against the monarchy instead of against socialism. More biting than Orwell, this book should take its place beside "Gulliver's Travels in every misanthrope's library. It will delight not only the devotees of Swift and Orwell, but also those of Bierce, Twain


Leigh Hunt was an English essayist, writer, and a friend of Shelley and Keats. He is the author of "Imagination and Fancy" and "What is Poetry?"Douglas A. Anderson, a leading American Tolkien scholar, is acknowledged as the worldwide expert on the textual history of "The Hobbit." He has contributed the text notes for all Houghton Mifflin Tolkien editions for more than a decade. He is also a bookseller, formerly in Ithaca, New York, now in northern Indiana.


"...Clever, savage, funny and poignant, this attack on political arrogance, religious hypocrisy, and intellectual excess is as applicable today as it was in 1825, when it was so dangerous that Leigh Hunt... published it anonymously. Hunt's novel still speaks for the dispossessed, disempowered, the universal victims of political ambition, insensitivity, and greed..." Chr(45) Dr Marilyn Gaull, Editor, The Wordsworth Circle; Professor of English, New York University.
EAN: 9780897335201
ISBN: 0897335201
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2005
Seitenanzahl: 168 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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