Fear and Politics A Debate at the Zoo

Vanessa Bell, front cover of "Fear and Politics"
Bruce Peel Library

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Henrietta Garnett


Leonard Woolf


In this tongue-in-cheek but nevertheless highly critical political Hogarth Essay, Leonard Woolf uses animals at the London Zoo as allegorical figures representing the English middle classes. He suggests that it is not so strange to imagine the animals as people: 'so civilized the animals become that, after the Gardens have closed for the night, many of them contrive to meet together in a kind of debating society, the object of which is mutual instruction and improvement.' Woolf depicts the dialogue that follows among the animals about the nature of political society in England until eventually "the Elephant then declared the meeting closed amid applause." (24)



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