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parsed(2024-07-09) - pubdate: 04/24
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pub date: 1720501200
today: 1718427600, pubdate > today = true

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Catland

Feline Enchantment and the Making of the Modern World

July 9, 2024 | Hardcover
ISBN: 9780008365103
$36.99
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This title will be released on Jul 9, 2024. Pre-order now.

Description

'If a Louis Wain cat were reading this book, he would raise his topper in tribute' The Times 'Excellent ... Hughes reveals a fascinating, forgotten aspect of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain: how the British fell in love with felines' Daily Mail Some called it a craze. To others it was a cult. Join prize-winning historian Kathryn Hughes to discover how Britain fell in love with cats and ushered in a new era. 'He invented a whole cat world' declared H. G. Wells of Louis Wain, the Edwardian artist whose anthropomorphic kittens made him a household name. His drawings were irresistible but Catland was more than the creation of one eccentric imagination. It was an attitude - a way of being in society while discreetly refusing to follow its rules. As cat capitalism boomed in the spectacular Edwardian age, prized animals changed hands for hundreds of pounds and a new industry sprung up to cater for their every need. Cats were no longer basement-dwelling pest-controllers, but stylish cultural subversives, more likely to flaunt a magnificent ruff and a pedigree from Persia. Wherever you found old conventions breaking down, there was a cat at the centre of the storm. Whether they were flying aeroplanes, sipping champagne or arguing about politics, Wain's feline cast offered a sly take on the restless and risky culture of the post-Victorian world. No-one experienced these uncertainties more acutely than Wain himself, confined to a mental asylum while creating his most iconic work. Catland is a fascinating and fabulous unravelling of our obsession with cats, and the man dedicated to chronicling them. 'Hughes combines ingenuity, insight, and immense literary charm in a study of cat culture and modernism. A perfect gift for cat lovers, art lovers, and readers of all persuasions' Elaine Showalter 'A darting, hobby-horsical, hugely interesting book' Guardian 'On Victorian and Edwardian terrain, Hughes is near-omniscient ... Through humour elegance and sheer knowledge, Hughes builds something remarkable' Literary Review

About this Author

Kathryn Hughes is the prize-winning author of four previous books on Victorian social history, including a biography of Mrs Beeton which was longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and adapted for the BBC. For the past twenty years she has been a literary critic at the Guardian and writes regularly on books, art and culture for the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. Kathryn is currently Professor Emerita at the University of East Anglia, and a Fellow of both the Royal Literary Society and the Royal Historical Society.

ISBN: 9780008365103
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 2024-07-09

Reviews

'Hughes' excellent, curiosity-stuffed book is about the moment towards the end of the 19th century when cats started to be afforded the same dignity as dogs' Philip Hensher, Spectator

'Kathryn Hughes is one of our best loved and most incisively witty social historians. Louis Wain, whose anthropomorphised kitties brought the lowly English mouser prancing into the parlours, bedrooms and even ballrooms of England, provides the biographical thread for her brilliantly researched and unforgettable portrait of Victorian times' Miranda Seymour

'Hughes has a brilliant eye for absurdities and untold stories. This isn't a gushing ode to pussycats but a wide-ranging history of a period of huge upheaval told through the changing fortunes of a domestic animal and an artist losing his grip on his finances and sanity' i News

'A darting, hobby-horsical, hugely interesting book with the feel of a passion project rather than a sobersides work of history. But its ease and authority come from how Hughes as a historian is completely at home in the era under discussion, offering feline sideways glances at class, economics, urbanisation, eugenics, gender politics and much else besides' Guardian

'Catland is a one-off, a book of high whimsy and deep research, a work of great subtly that is also startlingly original. Part-biography, part-social history, Catland is its own breed of historical investigation. Kathryn Hughes shows us not how we see ourselves, or even how we see our cats, but how we see ourselves in our cats, for better or worse' Amanda Foreman

'Consistently fascinating ... A tremendous literary feat' Kirkus, starred review

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