audiobook (Unabridged) Feline Enchantment and the Making of the Modern World

By Kathryn Hughes

cover image of Catland
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'If a Louis Wain cat were reading this book, he would raise his topper in tribute' The Times 'Excellent ... Hughes reveals a fascinating, forgotten aspect of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain: how the British fell in love with felines' Daily Mail Some called it a craze. To others it was a cult. Join prize-winning historian Kathryn Hughes to discover how Britain fell in love with cats and ushered in a new era. 'He invented a whole cat world' declared H. G. Wells of Louis Wain, the Edwardian artist whose anthropomorphic kittens made him a household name. His drawings were irresistible but Catland was more than the creation of one eccentric imagination. It was an attitude – a way of being in society while discreetly refusing to follow its rules. As cat capitalism boomed in the spectacular Edwardian age, prized animals changed hands for hundreds of pounds and a new industry sprung up to cater for their every need. Cats were no longer basement-dwelling pest-controllers, but stylish cultural subversives, more likely to flaunt a magnificent ruff and a pedigree from Persia. Wherever you found old conventions breaking down, there was a cat at the centre of the storm. Whether they were flying aeroplanes, sipping champagne or arguing about politics, Wain's feline cast offered a sly take on the restless and risky culture of the post-Victorian world. No-one experienced these uncertainties more acutely than Wain himself, confined to a mental asylum while creating his most iconic work. Catland is a fascinating and fabulous unravelling of our obsession with cats, and the man dedicated to chronicling them. 'Hughes combines ingenuity, insight, and immense literary charm ... A perfect gift for cat lovers, art lovers, and readers of all persuasions' Elaine Showalter 'On Victorian and Edwardian terrain, Hughes is near-omniscient ... Through humour, elegance and sheer knowledge, Hughes builds something remarkable' Literary Review 'An entertaining and often surprising cultural history ... typically delivered in an inviting spirit of delight, and [Hughes] is not above engaging in a little anthropomorphizing' New Yorker