How Animals Grieve

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Mar 28, 2013 - Pets - 208 pages
0 Reviews
From the time of our earliest childhood encounters with animals, we casually ascribe familiar emotions to them. But scientists have long cautioned against such anthropomorphizing, arguing that it limits our ability to truly comprehend the lives of other creatures. Recently, however, things have begun to shift in the other direction, and anthropologist Barbara J. King is at the forefront of that movement, arguing strenuously that we can—and should—attend to animal emotions. With How Animals Grieve, she draws our attention to the specific case of grief, and relates story after story—from fieldsites, farms, homes, and more—of animals mourning lost companions, mates, or friends.   King tells of elephants surrounding their matriarch as she weakens and dies, and, in the following days, attending to her corpse as if holding a vigil. A housecat loses her sister, from whom she's never before been parted, and spends weeks pacing the apartment, wailing plaintively. A baboon loses her daughter to a predator and sinks into grief. In each case, King uses her anthropological training to interpret and try to explain what we see—to help us understand this animal grief properly, as something neither the same as nor wholly different from the human experience of loss.   The resulting book is both daring and down-to-earth, strikingly ambitious even as it’s careful to acknowledge the limits of our understanding. Through the moving stories she chronicles and analyzes so beautifully, King brings us closer to the animals with whom we share a planet, and helps us see our own experiences, attachments, and emotions as part of a larger web of life, death, love, and loss.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

On Grief and Love
1
1 Keening for Carson the Cat
11
2 A Dogs Best Friend
21
3 Mourning on the Farm
32
4 Why Bunnies Get Depressed
41
5 Elephant Bones
52
6 Do Monkeys Mourn?
64
Cruel to Be Kind
77
11 Animal Suicide?
115
12 Ape Grief
125
13 On Bison Death in Yellowstone and Obituaries of Animals
134
14 Writing Grief
145
15 The Prehistory of Grief
153
Afterword
163
Acknowledgments
171
Readings and Visual Resources
173

8 Bird Love
88
Dolphins Whales and Turtles
97
CrossSpecies Grief
106

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Barbara J. King is professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary. She is the author or editor of many books, including Being with Animals. She blogs regularly for National Public Radio and reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.

Bibliographic information