Animals in folklore and literature: poetical and philosophical aspects
Marjetka Golež Kaučič (Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
Paper short abstract:
Proceeding from the philosophical categories of being and object, or human and animal, the author determines how animals are contextualized according to these categories in Slovenian folklore and in Slovenian and world literature from Burns,Rilke,Coetzee to Kosovel,Detela,Makarovič.
Paper long abstract:
Various multidisciplinary branches of animal studies developed in twentieth-century scholarship. These ranged from sociological, ethological, anthropological, political, and animal-rights approaches to ecofeminism, deep ecology, and philosophical and legal aspects of the perspective on the human-animal relationship with leading researchers such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Paola Cavalieri, Luc Ferry, Boria Sax, Barbara Noske, Nikola Visković, Steven Best, and others. Folklore and ethnological studies rarely tackled culture- specific animal themes, although animals are definitely part of cultural tradition - people have varying relationships towards animals, and many ecological, psychological, cultural, and utilitarian aspects are embedded in the manner in which people behave and act towards other species when they come in contact with them. This paper proceeds from recent philosophical discoveries about animals' roles, lives, and existences, and uses these to analyze folklore and literature that includes animal figures, images, and symbols in a wide variety of contexts. It represents an effort to shape a network of animal images and various human-animal relations. Proceeding from the philosophical categories of being and object, or human and animal, the author determines how animals are contextualized according to these categories in Slovenian folklore (songs, narrative and customs) and literature from world authors such as Robert Burns, Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, John M. Coetzee and Slovenians: Srečko Kosovel, Jure Detela in Svetlana Makarovič. The goal of this paper is to unveil the complex relation between living species in the cultural and natural environment and to revise the aspect of humans that seeks to appropriate everything that lives around them.