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Joy Sorman

Core reading

Joy Sorman, Comme une bête (Paris: Gallimard, 2012) [please buy the Folio edition].

Advance preparation

Week 7

  1. Student presentation: ‘Describe and analyse Pim’s relationships with adult authority figures in the text.’
  2. In what ways does the text encourage readers to empathise with animals?
  3. To what extent does this novel show evidence of ‘research’ on the author’s part? What purposes does this ‘research’ serve?

Week 8

  1. Has the text changed the way you think or feel about the production and consumption of meat? If so, how? (Look at the further reading by Fiddes and Diamond before approaching this question.)
  2. ‘Pim est un enfant voyageur et halluciné qui se noie dans ses lectures.’ (p.143). Consider Pim’s approach to reading in the light of this quotation and your wider reading of the text.
  3. Commentary passages:
    • ‘Il voyagea, quitta la Bretagne.’ (p.111, very beginning of part II) to ‘clap, clap, clap’ (p.112).
    • ‘Pim va libérer la boucherie’ (p.157, very beginning of part III) to ‘interloquées.’ (p.159).

Further reading

  • Diamond, Cora, 'Eating Meat and Eating People', in Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, ed. by Sunstein and Nussbaum (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 93-107. Available as an e-book here.
  • Fiddes, Nick, Meat: A Natural Symbol (London: Routledge, 1991), in particular ch. 7, 'The Barbarity of Meat', pp. 94-118 and ch. 14, 'Ecology', pp. 210-223. Available as an e-book here.
  • de Fontenay, Elisabeth, Le Silence des bêtes: la philosophie à l’épreuve de l’animalité (Paris: Fayard, 1998), in particular 'Acheminement vers leur non-parole', pp. 17-26; 'Miserere', pp. 719-27; 'L'abattoir ou la communauté de destin', pp.741-48.
  • Gross, Aaron and Vallely, Anne (eds.), Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). See here.