A notable Shew of Horses: Equine Encounters in a Survey of London

Lead Research Organisation: Bath Spa University
Department Name: School of Humanities


The Survey of London's vast compilation of the City's history and customs provides an invaluable narrative of the capital's heritage and culture. The project is a comparative study of the animal citations in the four early modern editions of the Survey with the aim of tracing and contextualising any changes in the portrayal of human-animal relations. These are of previously unrecognised importance in this pivotal literary imagining of early modern urbanisation.

The animal citations in the first four editions of the Survey can provide an insight into the obscuring effect of urbanisation on the portrayal of early modern human-animal relations and that the nuances between the editors' literary imaginings of the city rehearse an increasingly literal invisibility of urban animals in early modern London.

The project is of central importance to an understanding of the urbanisation of early modern London. The original approach of quantitatively establishing and analysing the animal citations in the Survey has the potential to open up new lines of enquiry into the visibility of urban animals in early modern literature. It will also throw fresh light on the role of animals in early modern history and culture more broadly.
The project will contribute a new ecocritical perspective to existing scholarship on the Survey and will demonstrate the importance of the text to literary animal studies.


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