j Strange Attractor Journal Four i neurosis and reptilian psychosis, suicidal scorpions and deranged, Prufrockian lemmings.
Darwin and Lindsay both sought to make Homo sapiens part of the natural world, but they came at the question from opposing directions. Darwin saw Lindsay’s work as a small and comparatively unimportant thread in his own evolutionary tapestry. But Lindsay argued that the history of human-animal relationships was, like the history of attitudes towards the mad, dominated by superstition, misrepresentation and cruelty. He set out to restore the maligned reputation of the animal kingdom by demonstrating ‘the psychical superiority of the lower animals – the dog, horse, elephant, parrot or editions of Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man ape – over the human child, and even the human adult’, and showing, (1874) and you will find a handful of footnotes in the process, that all creatures – from pea crabs to collies – were smart citing the work of one William Lauder Lindsay.1 and sensitive enough to suffer doubt, depression and insanity.
Read Lindsay’s entry in the revised Dictionary of Lindsay was a widely travelled, fairly eminent member of the National Biography, and you might be forgiven Scottish medical landscape, his research cited by Darwin and published for concluding that the high point of this in some of the leading medical journals of the period, and his life Scottish physician’s career was his Memoir on recorded in the DNB. He seems to have seen Mind in the Lower Animals the Spermogones and Pycnides of Lichens (1870).2 as part of a serious attempt, both scientific and humanitarian, to sweep We beg to differ. In Mind in the Lower Animals aside existing notions of the limits of the mind. But his obituarists in Health and Disease, a sprawling two-volume concentrated on a different side of his life and work: Lindsay the retailer treatise published at the end of his life in of sentimental anecdotes, an eccentric anthropomorphist of Swiftian 1879, Lindsay found his metier: not vegetable proportions (though lacking Swift’s wit and savage indignation). love, but animal madness. He ranged across Lindsay’s work is part of a long tradition in Western thought, one continents and centuries, pillaging writers from which sought to explore the boundaries between the divine, the human Pliny to Darwin and ushering his readers and the animal, and in doing so to discover what it meant to be free, into a dark, destabilised world of simian conscious and responsible. But his sentimental anthropomorphism and his engagement with evolutionary theory marked Lindsay as 1. See Darwin, Charles: The Descent Of Man, And Selection In Relation To Sex.
distinctively Victorian, responding to the hopes and anxieties of the Edited With An Introduction By James Moore And Adrian Desmond. London: Penguin Books, 2004 (Rpt. Of 1879), Pp. 23, 100, 119.
In Perceiving Animals3 the historian Erica Fudge identifies the 2. Seccombe, Thomas (Rev. DJ Galloway): ‘Lindsay, William Lauder (1829-1880),
Physician And Botanist’, In Oxford Dictionary Of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford 3. Fudge, Erica: Perceiving Animals: Humans And Beasts In Early Modern English
Culture. Illinois: University Of Illinois Press.



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