Combining literary and historical tidbits with witty social insight, Dog Love explains everything from why we often admire presidential pets more than their owners to why our attachment to dogs is the ultimate expression of our humanity. of photos.
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Marjorie Garber, the director of the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Harvard University, has produced a book that is very much in the tradition of another recent paean to canines, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' The Hidden Life of Dogs. Thomas' book, however, somehow failed to inform us that a 1958 TV series pilot promisingly named "Superpup" narrowly missed making it to the small screen. Or that the world "puppy" comes from the French poupee, meaning "doll." Or a host of other fascinating, and not-so-fascinating, dog lore served up by Garber. When Garber writes about the intimate, supra-verbal bond that can develop between dogs and their masters, she tells us engagingly what we already sense. When she relates anecdotes of notable courage and loyalty in dogs, she describes what most dog owners already know. And when she argues that the love and loyalty of dogs towards their human masters can serve as a model for a more just and compassionate human society, well, you just can't help but want to go along with her.From Publishers Weekly:
Wise and witty, Garber (Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life), trains her formidable interpretative gifts on a vastly popular subject: dogs. Unlike such dog litterateurs as Elizabeth Marshall Thomas or Vicki Hearne, however, she observes not dogs themselves but their prominence in American culture. Examining everything from portrayals of dogs in books and films to people who report having had sex with dogs, she posits that our society relies on dogs to bring out its humanity. The argument is not especially original, but no matter: she unfolds it with such agility and imagination as to compel attention. Whether she is discussing the barking dog at the O.J. Simpson trial or offering a Lacanian analysis of Virginia Woolf's book Flush (described as "a tongue-in-jowl reimagining of the life of Elizabeth Barret Browning's beloved spaniel"), she demonstrates a keen and playful ear. There is an occasional odor of the graduate seminar ("Is caninophilia an erotics of dominance?"), but on the whole the prose is frisky and Garber's earnestness doesn't stand in the way of a light tone. Casual readers will also be encouraged by the book's organization into chapters built of brief, discrete segments ideal for browsing. Of recent dog books, this is easily the pick of the litter. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, QPB, Good Cook and Country Home & Garden alternates.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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