The English Department’s Dr Emelia Quinn has published a new book exploring the relation between veganism and English Literature, Reading Veganism: The Monstrous Vegan, 1818 to Present. In the process, Dr Quinn proposes a new field, “vegan theory,” which draws together insights from queer theory, animal studies, ecocriticism and postcolonial studies.
The book’s identification of the figure of “the monstrous vegan” challenges traditional associations of veganism with positivity, health and purity, by pointing to those literary figures since the Romantic period whose veganism has challenged the boundaries of the human. Such figures are often intimately connected to acts of writing.
Ranging from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to J.M. Coetzee and Alan Hollinghurst, the book uses a broad historical and theoretical corpus to challenge the way we think about literature, but also about our own relationship to animals, food and forms of ethical behaviour. Reading Veganism is published by Oxford University Press and is available in hardback and as an ebook.