Emelia Quinn

Oct 6, 2022

Reading Veganism

The Monstrous Vegan, 1818 to Present

Oxford University Press 2021

Reading Veganism: The Monstrous Vegan, 1818 to Present (Oxford UP, 2021) focuses on the iteration of the trope of ‘the monstrous vegan’ across 200 years of Anglophone literature. Explicating, through such monsters, veganism’s relation to utopian longing and challenge to the conceptual category of the ‘human’, the book explores ways in which ethical identities can be written, represented, and transmitted. Reading Veganism proposes that we can recognize and identify the monstrous vegan in relation to four key traits. First, monstrous vegans do not eat animals, an abstinence that generates a seemingly inexplicable anxiety in those who encounter them. Second, they are hybrid assemblages of human and nonhuman animal parts, destabilizing existing taxonomical classifications. Third, monstrous vegans are sired outside of heterosexual reproduction, the product of male acts of creation. And, finally, monstrous vegans are intimately connected to acts of writing and literary creation. The principal contention of the book is that understandings of veganism, as identity and practice, are limited without a consideration of multiplicity, provisionality, failure, and insufficiency within vegan definition and lived practice. Veganism’s association with positivity, in its drive for health and purity, is countered by a necessary and productive negativity generated by a recognition of the horrors of the modern world. Vegan monsters rehearse the key paradoxes involved in the writing of vegan identity.

Emelia Quinn is Assistant Professor of World Literatures & Environmental Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. Prior to this position she received her DPhil (PhD) in English from the University of Oxford. She is author of Reading Veganism: The Monstrous Vegan, 1818 to Present (Oxford UP, 2021) and co-editor of Thinking Veganism in Literature and Culture: Towards a Vegan Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and The Edinburgh Companion to Vegan Literary Studies (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

Callie Smith is a poet and a PhD candidate in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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