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AnimalitiesLiterary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human$
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Michael Lundblad

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474400022

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400022.001.0001

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Love Triangle with Dog: Whym Chow, the “Michael Fields,” and the Poetic Potential of Human-Animal Bonds

Love Triangle with Dog: Whym Chow, the “Michael Fields,” and the Poetic Potential of Human-Animal Bonds

Chapter:
(p.190) Chapter 9 Love Triangle with Dog: Whym Chow, the “Michael Fields,” and the Poetic Potential of Human-Animal Bonds
Source:
Animalities
Author(s):

Colleen Glenney Boggs

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400022.003.0010

Boggs focuses on a volume of poetry titled Whym Chow: Flame of Love, which was published pseudonymously by Michael Field in 1914. While Victorian and queer studies have focused on other works produced by this author, who was actually two women—Katherine Bradley and her niece Edith Cooper, both friends with Robert Browning—less attention has been paid to their later privately-published volume that commemorates their dog who had passed away several years before, a Chow named Whym. Boggs finds great potential in the poems for complicating theoretical explorations of “dog love”, and for rethinking subjectivity and kinship, particularly in terms of the queer potential of human-animal relationships. Rather than reading the poems as examples of anthropomorphism and a privileging of the human over the animal, Boggs sees them as deconstructing these distinctions, with the dog Whym as an “equal partner”.

Keywords:   Michael Field, Whym Chow, human-animal bonds, dog love, subjectivity, kinship, queer potential, anthropomorphism

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