Andrew Kelly Nick Smith

Andrew Kelly

Animals ‘in the Fraternity of universal Nature’

Coleridge Lectures/
Thu 26 March 2015

Andrew Kelly

Animals ‘in the Fraternity of universal Nature’

Andrew Kelly Nick Smith
Thu 26 March 2015,

The Romantics took great interest in science, the natural world and animals. In his utopian community the Pantisocracy (the all-governing society – where labour would be minimised and time devoted to study, liberal discussions and educating children) Samuel Taylor Coleridge said animals were to be brothers and sisters ‘in the Fraternity of universal Nature’. His poem ‘To a Young Ass’ hailed the animal he had befriended in Jesus College as ‘Brother’. Though mocked at the time for these views, animal rights and animal welfare were debated widely amongst the Romantics and remain controversial issues today. Andrew Kelly looks at the views of the Romantics and current campaigns for animals.

This lecture is part of a new annual series inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s radical lectures in Bristol in 1795. It is part of The Romantic Poets and Bristol programme, which celebrates the life of Thomas Chatterton, Hannah More, Willam Wordsworth, Coleridge and others in the city, and Bristol as the place where Romanticism was born with the first publication of the Lyrical Ballads. The programme focuses especially on nature and the emotions, place and the environment, and also looks at Bristol as a city for science, philosophy, ideas and political debate at the time of Coleridge and today. The 2015 theme is Radical Green. Future themes are: Utopias (2016); Revolution (2017) and Peace (2018).

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