The Cat and the Human Imagination: Feline Images from Bast to Garfield by Katherine M. Rogers

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8vo. pp. 222. b/w illustrations. biblio. index. wrs. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, [1998].


The Cat and the Human Imagination is a fascinating historical survey of the changing cultural attitudes towards cats and the myriad ways that they have been depicted in literature and art. Feline images have permeated civilization since the time of the ancient Egyptians, and during this time the status of the cat has changed dramatically. The book examines the changing images-- fertility goddess, sly little predator, agent of Satan, avenging witness, aristocrat, friend, spirit of the home, bloodthirsty killer, seductive female--and relates them to the contexts in which they arose. It also analyzes how human attitudes towards cats seem to have evolved in parallel with attitudes towards animals, towards authority, and towards gender.

"This book is a classic-- something every cat-loving intellectual will have to own. (No one, of course, ever really owns a cat--but everyone should own this book.) It's the kind of book you want to quote from at the vet's, or cocktail parties, or whenever you get the urge to convert a dog lover to the true faith." - Emily Toth, Louisiana State University