Dorothy Stuart approaches her subject along four main roads: archaeology, history, legend and literature. The cat emerges by turns as a goddess, an enigma, a playmate and a friend. The Ancient Egyptian Mau is here; the enchanted cats of Irish legend; the Gib of Gammer Gurton's Needle. Hodge and Selima, Jeffry and Dinah refused to be left out; but there are less familiar examples, too: the cat which voluntarily shared the Earl of Southampton's captivity in the Tower; the kitten in whose defense John Keats had a standup fight with a brutal butcher-boy of Hampstead; the delinquent who at dead of night gnawed the strings of her master's lute. Graymalkin, the witches' familiar, comes into the picture; and we catch fascinating glimpses of two furry sympathizers licking the tears from Florence Nightingale's cheeks, and of Cardinal Richelieu solemnly adding something on behalf of a cat and her kittens to the modest pension assigned by His Eminence to Mademoiselle Marie de Gournay, Montaigne's 'polished female friend'.
Dorothy Margaret Stuart is better known for her elegant and polished biographies, but in this short book we see a lighter side of her pen in an appreciation of feline company.
1: In Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; 2: Some Celtic and Medieval Cats. 3: Tudor and Shakespearean Cats. 4: The Witch's Familiar-More Literary Cats. 5: Dr Johnson-Horace Walpole-Thomas Gray-Christopher Smart-Cat-lovers All. 6: Some Augustan and Regency Cats. 7: A few Victorian and Post-Victorian Cats.
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- ID: 9781781554906
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