Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226686370 Will Publish March 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226686233 Will Publish March 2020
An e-book edition will be published.

Precarious Partners

Horses and Their Humans in Nineteenth-Century France

Kari Weil

Precarious Partners

Kari Weil

240 pages | 4 color plates, 34 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226686370 Will Publish March 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226686233 Will Publish March 2020
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9780226686400 Will Publish March 2020
From the recent spate of equine deaths on racetracks to protests demanding the removal of mounted Confederate soldier statues to the success and appeal of War Horse, there is no question that horses still play a role in our lives—though fewer and fewer of us actually interact with them. In Precarious Partners, Kari Weil takes readers back to a time in France when horses were an inescapable part of daily life. This was a time when horse ownership became an attainable dream not just for soldiers, but also for middle class children; when natural historians argued about animal intelligence; when the prevalence of horse beatings inspired the first animal protection laws; and when the combined magnificence and abuse of these animals inspired artists, writers, and riders alike.
Weil traces the evolving partnerships established between French citizens and their horses through this era. She considers the newly designed “races” of workhorses who carried men from the battlefield to the hippodrome, lugged heavy loads through the boulevards, or who paraded women riders, “amazones,” in the parks or circus halls—as well as with those unfortunate horses who found their fate on a dinner plate. Moving between literature, painting, natural philosophy, popular cartoons, sport manuals, and tracts of public hygiene, Precarious Partners traces the changing social, political, and emotional relations with these charismatic creatures who straddled conceptions of pet and livestock in nineteenth-century France.

Introduction: The Most Beautiful Conquest of Man?

1. Heads or Tails? Painting History with a Horse
2. Putting the Horse before Descartes: Sensibility and the War on Pity
3. Making Horsework Visible: Domestication and Labor from Buffon to Bonheur
4. Let Them Eat Horse
5. Purebreds and Amazons: Race, Gender, and Species from the Second Empire to the Third Republic
6. “The Man on Horseback”: From Military Might to Circus Sports
7. Animal Magnetism, Affective Influence, and Moral Dressage


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