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The Author's EffectsOn Writer's House Museums$
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Nicola J. Watson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198847571

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198847571.001.0001

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Petrarch’s cat and Poe’s raven

(p.44) 2 Bodies
The Author's Effects

Nicola J. Watson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 considers alternative evocations of the author’s body, focusing on how and why animal-bodies in the form of taxidermied remains are deployed as surrogates for the figure of the author within the writer’s house museum. It tours Arqua, Olney, London, Philadelphia, Coxwold, and Amherst in pursuit of the stories and fantasies old and new that lie behind the celebrity of Petrarch’s cat, Cowper’s hares, Poe’s raven, Sterne’s starling, and Dickinson’s hummingbirds. It argues that these animals serve to describe the doubled body of the author, at once dead and alive, mortal and immortal, body and voice, corpse and textual corpus.

Keywords:   Francesco Petrarch, Casa Petrarca Arquà, William Cowper, Charles Dickens, Doughty St London, Edgar Allan Poe, Laurence Sterne, Shandy Hall Coxwold, Emily Dickinson, The Homestead Amherst

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