By Louise E. Robbins
In 1775, a customer to Laurent Spinacuta's Grande Ménagerie on the annual iciness reasonable in Paris may have visible tigers, numerous forms of monkeys, an armadillo, an ocelot, and a condor—in all, forty-two dwell animals. In Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots, Louise Robbins explains that unique animals from all over the world have been universal in eighteenth-century Paris. within the streets of the town, citizens and viewers may well become aware of acting elephants and a scuffling with polar endure. these trying to find strange pets may buy parrots, flying squirrels, and capuchin monkeys. The royal menagerie at Versailles displayed lions, cranes, an elephant, a rhinoceros, and a zebra, which in 1760 grew to become an incredible courtroom attraction.
For Enlightenment-era Parisians, unique animals either piqued medical interest and conveyed social prestige. Their availability used to be a boon for naturalists like Buffon, writer of the best-selling Histoire naturelle, who saw strange species in numerous destinations round the urban. Louis XVI observed his menagerie as a manifestation of his energy and funded its maintenance for that reason, whereas critics used the caged animals as metaphors of slavery and political oppression amidst the transforming into political turmoil. In her enticing and infrequently miraculous account, Robbins considers approximately each point of France's obsession with unique fauna, from the monstrous literature on unique animals and the interior workings of the oiseleurs' (birdsellers') guild to how the animals have been transported, housed, and cared for. in response to wide-ranging and creative examine, Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots stands as a big contribution to the historical past of human-animal kin, eighteenth-century tradition, and French colonialism.
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